The Lost Gods

WANDERING in dreamland once, I found
A woman weeping on the Ægean shore,
Who answered, when I asked, “Why weepest thou?”
“ Great is our grief; the Gods are here no more.”
“ Dost thou lack bread,” I said, “ or anything
Held precious or in high esteem before ? ”
“ Ah, no ! with wealth our garners overflow.
Didst thou not hear ? The Gods have left our shore.”
Then, half in anger, I did make reply,
“ The Gods ! what have they ever done for thee ?
Hast thou not suffered sickness, hunger, cold,
And every ill ? Rejoice that thou art free.”
But still she wept and wrung her hands, her eyes
Upraised in grief my pity to implore,
And answered, “ Yes ; we count it all as naught.
Alas ! alas ! the Gods, they are no more.
“ What have we now to reverence, worship, love,
Or what for us can ever fill their place ?
Not corn, nor wine, nor friends, nor gleaming gold;
The Gods alone can fill the earth with grace.
“ They dwelt upon the mountains, in the vales,
They haunted all the groves and running streams ;
We labored in their presence through the day,
At night they gave us counsel in our dreams.
“ We saw them not, yet all the great wide world
Bear proof and impress of their skill and care.
We hoped the good among us could not die ;
What loss is ours, no life but beasts’ to share!”
In vain I strove to comfort her, — to prove
The Gods were not, nor ever had been there ;
Yet while I spoke, a voice in me arose
And cried, “ Thou liest! the Gods are everywhere.”
Frances L. Gardner.