Before The Temple

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein


All desolate she sate her down
Upon the marble of the temple's stair.
You would have thought her, with her eyes of brown,
Flushed cheeks and hazel hair,
A dryad dreaming there.


A priest of Bacchus passed, nor stopped
To chide her; deeming her whose chiton hid
But half her bosom, and whose girdle dropped
Some grief-drowned Bassarid,
The god of wine had chid.


With wreaths of woodland cyclamen
For Dian's shrine, a shepherdess drew near,
All her young thoughts on vestal beauty, when
She dare not look for fear
Behold the goddess here!


Fierce lights on shields of bossy brass
And helms of gold, next from the hills deploy
Tall youths of Argos. And she sees him pass,
Flushed with heroic joy,
On towards the siege of Troy.

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