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The three-formed dreadful one who reigns
In heaven and the fiery plains,
But ou the green earth best of all.

Lo, now thine upraised crest let fall,
Relax thy limbs, let both thine eyes
Be closed, and bestial fantasies
Fill thy dull head till dawn of day

And we are far upon our way.”
As thus she sung, the beast seemed not to hear
Her words at first, but ever drew anear,
Circling about them, and Medea's face
Grew pale unto the lips, though still the place
Rung with the piercing sweetness of her song.
But slower soon he dragged his length along,
And on his limbs he tottered, till at last
All feebly by the wondering prince he passed,
And whining to Medea's feet he crept,
With eyes half closed, as though well-nigh he slept,
And there before her laid his head adown;
Who, shuddering, on his wrinkled neck and brown
Set her white foot, and whispered, “Haste, O love!
Behold the keys; haste! while the Gods above
Are friendly to us; there behold the shrine
Where thou canst see the lamp of silver shine.
Nay, draw not death upon both thee and me
With fearless kisses; fear, until the sea
Shall fold green arms about us lovingly,
And kindly Venus to thy keel be nigh.”

Then lightly from her soft side Jason stept, While still upon the beast her foot she kept, Still murmuring softly many an unknown word, As when through half-shut casements the brown bird We hearken, when the night is come in June, And thick-leaved woods are 'twixt us and his tune.

Therewith he threw the last door open wide, Whose hammered iron did the marvel hide, And shut his dazzled eyes, and stretched his hands Out towards the sea-born wonder of all lands, And buried them deep in the locks of gold, Grasping the fleece within his mighty hold.

Which when Medea saw, her gown of grey She caught up from the ground, and drew away Her wearied foot from off the rugged beast, And, while from her soft strain she never ceased, In the dull folds she hid her silk from sight, And then, as bending 'neath the burden bright, Jason drew nigh, joyful, yet still afraid, She met him, and her wide grey mantle laid Over the fleece, whispering, “Make no delay; He sleeps who never slept by night or day Till now; nor will his charmed sleep be long. Light-foot am I, and sure thine arms are strong; Haste, then! no word! nor turn about to gaze At me, as he who in the shadowy ways Turned round to see once more the twice-lost face.”

Then swiftly did they leave the dreadful place, Turping no look behind, and reached the street, That with familiar look and kind did greet Those wanderers, mazed with marvels and with fear. And so, unchallenged, did they draw anear The long white quays, and at the street's end now Beheld the ships' masts standing row by row Stark black against the stars. Then cautiously Peered Jason forth, ere they took heart to try The open starlit place; but nought he saw Except the night-wind twitching the loose straw From half-unloaded keels, and nought he heard But the strange twittering of a caged green bird Within an Indian ship, and from the hill A distant baying; yea, all was so still, Somewhat they doubted, natheless forth they passed, And Argo's painted sides they reached at last.

Then saw Medea men like shadows grey Rise from the darksome decks, who took straightway With murmured joy, from Jason's outstretched hands, The conquered fleece, the wonder of all lands, While with strong arms he took the royal maid, And in their hold the precious burthen laid; And scarce her dainty feet could touch the deck, Ere down he leapt, and little now did reck That loudly clanged his armor therewithal.

But, turning townward, did Medea call, “ ( noble Jason, and ye heroes strong, To sea! to sea! nor pray ye loiter long; For surely shall ye see the beacons flare Ere in mid stream ye are, and running fair On toward the sea with tide and oar and sail. My father wakes, nor bides he to bewail His loss and me; I see his turret gleam As he goes toward the beacon, and down stream Absyrtus lurks before the sandy bar In mighty keel well-manned and dight for war.”

Now swift beneath the oar-strokes Argo flew, While the sun rose behind them, and they drew Unto the river's mouth, nor failed to see Absyrtus' galley waiting watchfully Betwixt them and the white-topped turbid bar. Therefore they gat them ready now for war, With joyful hearts, for sharp they sniffed the sea, And saw the great waves tumbling green and free Outside the bar upon the way to Greece, The rough green way to glory and sweet peace.

Then to the prow gat Jason, and the maid
Must needs be with him, though right sore afraid,
As nearing now the Colchian ship, they hung
On balanced oars; but the wild Arcas strung
His deadly bow, and clomb into the top.

Then Jason cried, “ Absyrtus, will ye stop
Our peaceful keel, or let us take the sea?
Soothly, have we no will to fight with thee
If we may pass unfoughten; therefore say
What is it thou wilt have this dawn of day?”

Now on the other prow Absyrtus stood,
His visage red with eager, wrathful blood,
And in his right hand shook a mighty spear,
And said, “O seafarers, ye pass not here,
For gifts or prayers, but, if it must be so,
Over our sunken bulwarks shall ye go.”

Then Jason wrathfully threw up his head, But ere the shout came, fair Medea said, In trembling whisper thrilling through his ear,

Haste, quick upon them! if before is fear,

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Behind is death.” Then Jason, turning, saw
A tall ship staggering with the gusty flaw,
Just entering the long reach where they were,
And heard her horns through the fresh morning air.

Then lifted he his hand, and with a cry
Back flew the balanced oars full orderly,
And toward the doomed ship miglly Argo passed;
Thereon Absyrtus shouted loud, and cast
His spear at Jason, that before his feet
Stuck in the deck; then out the arrows fleet
Burst from the Colchians; and scarce did they spare
Medea's trembling side and bosom fair;
But Jason, roaring as the lioness
When round her helpless whelps the hunters press,
Wbirled round his head his mighty brass-bound spear,
That, flying, smote the prince beneath the ear,
As Arcas' arrow sunk into his side.
Then, falling, scarce he met the rushing tide,
Ere Argo's mighty prow had thrust apart
The huddled oars, and through the fair ship's heart
Had thrust her iron beak, then the green wave
Rushed in as rush the waters through a cave
That tunnels half a sea-girt, lonely rock.
Then drawing swiftly backward from the shock,
And heeding not the cries of fear and woe,
They left the waters dealing with their foe;
Then at the following ship threw back a shout,
And seaward o'er the bar drave Argo out.

Then joyful felt all men as now at last From hill to green hill of the sea they passed; But chiefly joyed Medea, as now grew The Colchian hills behind them faint and blue, And like a white speck showed the following ship. There 'neath the canopy, lip pressed to lip, They sat and told their love, till scarce he thought What precious burden back to Greece he brought Besides the maid, nor for his kingdom cared, As on her beauty with wet eyes he stared, And heard her sweet voice soft as in a dream, Where all seems gained, and trouble dead does seem.

LESSON 67. AMERICAN POETRY.—WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT was born at Cummington, N. H., 1794; entered Williams College, 1810; admitted to the bar, 1815; became connected with the Evening Post, 1826, and afterwards was its editor-in-chief. Wrote Thanatopsis at the age of eighteen; published his first volume of poems, 1821; the first complete collection, 1832; and an additional volume, 1864. His translation of the Iliad appeared 1870; and of the Odyssey, 1871. He died in 1878.

“The poetry of Bryant is not great in amount, but it represents a great deal of work, as few men are more finished artists than he, or more patient in shaping and polishing their productions. No piece of verse ever left his hands till it had received the last touch demanded by the most correct judgment and the most fastidious taste. Thus the style of his poetry is always admirable. Nowhere can one find in what he has written a careless or slovenly expression, an awkward phrase, or an illchosen word. He never puts in an epithet to fill out a line, and never uses one which could be improved by substituting another.

The range within which he moves is not wide. He has not written narrative or dramatic poems; he has not painted poetical portraits; he has not aspired to the honors of satire, of wit, or of humor; he has made no contributions to the poetry of passion. His poems may be divided into two great classes —those which express the moral aspect of humanity, and those which interpret the language of Nature; though it may be added that in not a few of his productions these two elements are combined.

Those of the former class are not so remarkable for originality of treatment as for the beauty and truth with which they express the reflections of the general mind and the emotions of the general heart. In these poems we see our own experience returned to us, touched with the lights and colored with the hues of the most exquisite poetry.

In his study of Nature he combines the faculty and the vision, the eye of the naturalist and the imagination of the poet. No man observes the outward shows of earth and sky more accurately; no man feels them more vividly; no man describes them more beautifully.”—G. S. Hillard.

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