From the Book of Myths

by Bliss Carman




Where are you gone from the forest,
Leaving the mountain-side lonely
And all the beech woods deserted,
O my dear Daphne?

All the day long I go seeking


Trace of your flowerlike footprint.
Will not the dew on the meadow
Tell tale of Daphne?

Will not the sand on the sea-shore
Treasure that magical impress


For the disconsolate longing
Lover of Daphne?

Will not the moss and the fern-bed
Bearing the mould of her beauty,
Tell me where wandered and rested

Rose-golden Daphne?

All the night through I go hearkening
Every wild murmurous echo,—
Hint of your laughter,—the birdlike
Voice of my Daphne.


Why do the poplar leaves whisper
Things to themselves in the silence,
Though no wind visits the valley,
Daphne, my Daphne?

Listen! I hear their small voices,


An elfin multitude, mingle,
Lisping in silver-leaf language,
"Daphne, O Daphne!"

Listen! I hear the cold hill-brook
Plash down the clove on its pebbles,


And the ravine drenched in moonlight
Echoing, "Daphne!"

"Daphne," the rain says at nightfall;
"Daphne," the wind breathes at morning;
And a voice troubles the hot noon


Uttering "Daphne."

Ah, what impassioned remembrance,
In the dark pines in the starlight,
Touches the dream of your wood-thrush,
O my lost Daphne,


Dyeing his sleep like a bubble
Coloured for joy, and the note comes,
Golden, enchanted, eternal,
Calling for Daphne!

O Mother Earth, at how many


Thresholds of lone-dwelling mortals
Must I, a wayfarer, tarry,
Asking for Daphne?—

How many times see their faces
Fade to incredulous wonder,


Hearing in some remote vale
The story of Daphne,

Ere I at last through the twilight
Hear the soft rapturous outcry,
And as of there will greet me

Far-wandered Daphne?