Hesperian - Proem

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The path that winds by wood and stream
Is not the path for me to-day;
The path I take is one of dream,
That leads me down a twilight way.

By towns, where myths have only been;
By streams, no mortal foot hath crossed;
To gardens of hesperian sheen,
By halcyon seas for ever lost.

By forests, moonlight haunts alone,
(Diana with her silvery fawn;)
By fields, whereon the stars are sown,
(The wildflowers gathered of the Dawn.)

To orchards of eternal fruit,
That never mortal hand shall take;
Around whose central tree and root
Is coiled the never-sleeping Snake.

The Dragon, lost in listening, curled
Around the trunk whose fruit is gold:
The ancient wisdom of the world
Guarding the glory never old.

The one desire, that leads me now
Beyond endeavour still to try
And reach those peaks that overbrow
The islands of the sunset sky.

The purple crags, the rosy peaks
Of somewhere, nowhere; where you will;
But the one place where Beauty speaks
With the Greek rapture on her still.

Where still she joins with old Romance
And Myth and Legend pearl-white hands,
And leads the old immortal dance
Of Song in dim immortal lands.

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