Songs of the Sea Children

by Bliss Carman


 

LXIII


 

And then I knew the first vague bliss
That swept through Lilith like strange fire,
Consuming all her loveliness
With one imperious desire,

When in the twilight she beheld,

5

Through the green apple shades obscure, 
The Lord God moulding from the dust 
Her splendid virgin paramour.

I knew what aching shudder ran 
Through the dark bearers, file on file,

10

When Pharaoh's daughter went to merge 
Her peerless beauty in the Nile;

What slumbering deliciousness 
Awoke beside the Dorian stream 
When the young prince from over sea

15

Broke on the lovely Spartan's dream;

And all the fervour and desire,
The raptures and the ecstasies,
Of Aucassin and Nicollette,
Of Abelard and Hélöise,

20

And all the passionate despair, 
So bravely borne for many a year, 
Of Tristram and the dark Iseult, 
Of Launcelot and Guinevere!