Love Of The Woodland.

A poem by Victor Marie Hugo

("Orphée au bois du Caystre.")

[Bk. I. ii.]

Orpheus, through the hellward wood
Hurried, ere the eve-star glowed,
For the fauns' lugubrious hoots
Followed, hollow, from crookèd roots;
Aeschylus, where Aetna smoked,
Gods of Sicily evoked
With the flute, till sulphur taint
Dulled and lulled the echoes faint;
Pliny, soon his style mislaid,
Dogged Miletus' merry maid,
As she showed eburnean limbs
All-multiplied by brooklet brims;
Plautus, see! like Plutus, hold
Bosomfuls of orchard-gold,
Learns he why that mystic core
Was sweet Venus' meed of yore?
Dante dreamt (while spirits pass
As in wizard's jetty glass)
Each black-bossed Briarian trunk
Waved live arms like furies drunk;
Winsome Will, 'neath Windsor Oak,
Eyed each elf that cracked a joke
At poor panting grease-hart fast -
Obese, roguish Jack harassed;
At Versailles, Molière did court
Cues from Pan (in heron port,
Half in ooze, half treeward raised),
"Words so witty, that Boileau's 'mazed!"

Foliage! fondly you attract!
Dian's faith I keep intact,
And declare that thy dryads dance
Still, and will, in thy green expanse!

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