Αὔτα δὲ σὺ Καλλιόπα·
Α. Παρθενία, παρθενία, ποῖ με λίποισ’ οἴχῃ;
Β. Οὐκέτι ἥξω πρὸς σέ, οὐκέτι ἥξω·
MY shell is mute ; Apollo doth refuse
My prayers ; I turn to thee, O mother muse,
Who fled'st the buoyant brood
Of crested Helicon,
In secret by a mortal to be wooed,
Yet still, august, keepest thy golden snood :
My maidenhood, my maidenhood is gone.
Clio, ah ! thou thyself did'st find it sweet
To feel thy lover's heart against thee beat,
To let OEagrus teach
Love's tender, human ways,
No more with thy two arms to strive to reach
The sky, to hear a trembling man beseech,
And give him favour, prompting, and dispraise.
'Twas sweet to clasp thy child, nor did'st thou shrink
To bear him to thy virgin haunts to drink
Of Aganippe's spring.
Alas, what ailed thee then ?
While delicate girl-muses in a ring
Sang softly to thy babe thou could'st not sing—
Thy maidenhood would never come again.
Mute thou did'st hide him 'mid the devious bowers,
Till he stopped playing with the purple flowers
One April, and began
To hum a happy prate
That through the little, bosky hollows ran,
And brought the shepherd and the husbandman,
The doe and stag, the lioness and her mate.
But when a Maenad, breathing quick beneath
Her nebris, watched the child with sharpened teeth,
Did'st feel the poet's fate
Down Hebrus to be hurled ?
Mother, did'st thou forbode how for her great,
Her lyrical enchanters lies in wait
The execrating, fascinated world ?
Regret not, glorious lady of the style,
That thou did'st learn how nations travail, while
Thy heart throbbed with a king's,
And from Antissa's tomb
The fate and falling of all lovely things ;
Thy scroll unwraps the ages ; Moira brings
To thee the tattered tissue of her loom.
Yet sometimes, sitting by the sacred well,
Thou call'st to mind the heart-delighting spell
Apollo cast on thee
In thy strong, virgin days,
When thou wert close to sunshine and to tree ;
What ails thee in thyself, Calliope ?
With thee no more the hamadryad plays :
The blowing Hours of thy still form afraid
Bring thee no more the branch, the vine, the blade ;
They love the hands that smite
The full-stringed barbiton
That we may never touch again aright :
No living creature may we more delight ;
Our maidenhood, our maidenhood is gone.