Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics

by Bliss Carman


 

EPILOGUE


 

NOW the hundred songs are made,
And the pause comes. Loving Heart,
There must be an end to summer,
And the flute be laid aside.

On a day the frost will come, 

5

Walking through the autumn world,
Hushing all the brave endeavour
Of the crickets in the grass.

On a day—Oh, far from now!—
Earth will hear this voice no more; 

10

For it shall be with thy lover
As with Linus long ago.

All the happy songs he wrought
From remembrance soon must fade,
As the wash of silver moonlight 

15

From a purple-dark ravine.

Frail as dew upon the grass
Or the spindrift of the sea,
Out of nothing they were fashioned
And to nothing must return. 

20


Nay but something of thy love,
Passion, tenderness, and joy,
Some strange magic of thy beauty,
Some sweet pathos of thy tears,

Must imperishably cling 

25

To the cadence of the words,
Like a spell of lost enchantments
Laid upon the hearts of men.

Wild and fleeting as the notes
Blown upon a woodland pipe,

30

They must haunt the earth with gladness
And a tinge of old regret.

For the transport in their rhythm
Was the throb of thy desire,
And thy lyric moods shall quicken

35

Souls of lovers yet unborn.

When the golden days arrive,
With the swallow at the eaves,
And the first sob of the south wind
Sighing at the latch with spring,

40

Long hereafter shall thy name
Be recalled through foreign lands,
And thou be a part of sorrow
When the Linus songs are sung.