The Flutes of the God

The suggestion for The Flutes of the God is from the following’: —

Tɑȗτɑ, ỡ ϕίλϵ έτɑῖρϵ Κρίτων, ϵὖ ῐσθι, ὅτι έγὼ δοκῶ άκούϵιν, ὣσπϵρ οἵ κορυβɑντιῶντϵς τῶν ɑὐλῶν δοκοȗσιν άκούϵιν. — CRITO.

OH that I knew where to find thee,—to fall, and encompass thy knees,—
Thou, as thou art, austere, with thy turrets and dungeoning keys,
Thou with the frondage of oak, that enshadows thy grave, straight brows !
I would cling to thy knees till thou wouldst absolve the Corybant’s vows, —
Even his vows, who was mine, ere the voice from the forested hill,
With the flutes and the cymbals, he followed, and them he followeth still!
He follows, he dreams, with wide eyes all bare of the curtains of sleep ;
He heeds not the dawn on the height, nor the shadows as upward they creep, —
If the arrows of winter be forged, or the flame of the summer be fanned !
He feels not the thong of the priest, nor the blade in the lean, wild hand ;
Crimson the thorn-set path where the foot unsandaled hath trod.
He stayeth for none he shall meet, — he hears but the flutes of the God !
The mother that bare him, the father that guided afield his young feet,
Into the wilderness journey, they come to thy desolate seat.
At the foot of a fir tree they find him. Trembling, their knees and their speech :
“ Come away, thou, our support! Like the vine in the wind we outreach ;
Prop have we none ; we are stripped, we are shaken by every gust;
Withers unripened our fruit, and we stoop to be gathered to dust.
Leave thy dark seat by the fir tree, and hear us while yet thou mayst hear ! ”
Their voices die off on the waste, and the sigh of the fir tree comes drear.
They wait for the voice in response ; he uprears his thin form from the sod :
“ What say ye ? Who speaketh ? I hear — I hear but the flutes of the God ! ”
I was the maiden betrothed, and " Surely,” they said, “ thou shalt go,
Shalt touch his dead heart into life, and his eyes shall regain their lost glow ! ”
Breathless, I trod the lone ways. Among the mad priests, as he ranged,
I beheld whom I loved, but ah ! I beheld him how changed, how estranged !
I had drawn him apart from their throng, I had whispered the words that are charms,
Had touched his dead heart into life, and pillowed his head in my arms ;
But farther and farther aloof, to the notes of wild music he trod.
“ Who follows ? ” he cried, — “ who follows ? I hear but the flutes of the God ! ”
Oh that I knew where to find thee ! Whether, ’mid autumn’s increase,
With the young of the year around thee, thou givest them plenty with peace;
Or whether, dark-thoughted, remote through the waste, thy deity roves,
And the eyes of thy lions glance fire, in the twilight of dells and of groves.
Bright are their eyes impatient, the blast of the desert their breath;
Who crosseth their path, without thee, shall surely be doomed unto death.
Yet, mother of gods and of men, of the broods of the earth and the rocks,—
Thou, Berecynthia, hear ! by thy love, by his dark flowing locks,
By the smile on his lips, by the dream in his eyes, thou sendest at will,
By the soft-drawn sigh while thou watchest his slumber amid the high hill!
Thine Atys thou hast, though a sleeper; the care from his forehead is smoothed;
But he whom I love never sleeps, and his wild eyes never be soothed !
Give him but peace and my arms, and quiet supreme, in the end;
Bid some old fir tree his branches above us in shelter extend;
Then, the life to the air, the frail substance that held it awhile to the clod :
So shall he waken and madden no more to the flutes of the God !
Edith M. Thomas.