Maurice Hewlett

(1861-1923 / England)

Leto's Child


THERE between the trees
The prying Fauns and Woodmen dark
And prick-ear'd Satyrs her did mark,
How all abandon'd to her mood
Of careless lovely lassitude--
So ripe, so melting, like a rose
That dewy-hearted throbs and blows
Languorous in the wind's caresses--
She lay becurtained in loose tresses,
Not seeing what her half-dropt zone
Let of her bosom's bower be shown,
Or that soft thing abeating there,
Ungirdled treasure, warm and bare.
And as they peept and spied upon
The goodly sight she made, came One
Adventurous, whom the Woodfolk dreaded,
Great Pan the goat-foot, horny-headed,
And saw her, and began to woo her
With his fierce music to undo her,
And make her former shames go pale
Beside her latter. Here's no tale
For me who walk in Hymnia's beam,
Under her moon-wove eyes adream,
To tell you how Pan workt his will,
Or how she fended, with what skill
Garner'd within that sweeter nest
When she had laid on her Mare's breast,
And one the other comforted.
Little enough that serv'd her stead
This turn! Callisto was too tender
For the chill part: she must surrender.
Like white dawns hung in golden mist
That soon repent their wintry tryst
And go aweeping, she too soon
Gave him his hire, her body's boon;
And, all the kinder for late frost,
Was painful that he nothing lost
By tardy chaffering. So he brought her
To his tree-haunts, and lightly taught her
All of love's mystery; and this maid
For love's sake thought that well betray'd
Which had been life, had she but known it
As afterwards she had to own it.
Ah, passion of the love-denied
That ventures all for't far and wide,
That lacking sweet love falls to foul,
And feeds the flesh and starves the soul!
Her woe was working in her womb
Where that seed lay that was her doom:
Gotten by Pan, by Pan let lie
While he to other game gave eye,
Forgetful of what he had wrought
In the green forest when he taught
Callisto love, and found her apt.

Submitted: Tuesday, October 05, 2010

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