The Dead Oread

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Her heart is still and leaps no more
With holy passion when the breeze,
Her whilom playmate, as before,
Comes with the language of the bees,
Sad songs her mountain cedars sing,
And water-music murmuring.

Her calm white feet, - erst fleet and fast
As Daphne's when a god pursued, -
No more will dance like sunlight past
The gold-green vistas of the wood,
Where every quailing floweret
Smiled into life where they were set.

Hers were the limbs of living light,
And breasts of snow; as virginal
As mountain drifts; and throat as white
As foam of mountain waterfall;
And hyacinthine curls, that streamed
Like crag-born mists, and gloomed and gleamed.

Her presence breathed such scents as haunt
Moist, mountain dells and solitudes;
Aromas wild as some wild plant
That fills with sweetness all the woods:
And comradeships of stars and skies
Shone in the azure of her eyes.

Her grave be by a mossy rock
Upon the top of some wild hill,
Removed, remote from men who mock
The myths and dreams of life they kill:
Where all of beauty, naught of lust
May guard her solitary dust.

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