The Mænads

FROM the woodland gnarled and gray,
Where the leafage dims the day,
With a clash of cymbals loud,
Through the grasses, zephyr-bowed,
Where the slumberous poppies burn,
Raising each a fiery urn,
Comes a throng with frantic air,
Following fast a fleeing hare.
Wild the gleam that lights their eyes,
Strange the clamor of their cries ;
Ivy binds their glistening brows,
Twined with sprays from myrtle boughs.
Each a slender spear upholds;
Leopard skins, in tawny folds,
Partly hide and partly show
Limbs as white as winter snow.
One restrains with leathern rein
Sinewy, sleek-limbed panthers twain;
One waves high, with motions lithe,
Mottled snakes that hiss and writhe ;
And another bears along
Wine to cheer the masking throng,
Brewed by Bacchus in a still
High upon Hymettus hill.
Woe to him who meets this band
Faring through the forest land!
Earth shall know his face no more;
Like that hapless youth of yore
In the sweet Arcadian days,
Deep in sunless beechen ways
Lifeless he shall lie, and cold,
Trampled out of mortal mould.
Clinton Scollard.