NOONTIDE'S whiteness of full sun
Illumes her sleep ;
Its heat is on her limbs and one
White arm with sweep
Of languor falls around her head :
She cuddles on the lap of earth ;
While almost dead
Asleep, forgetful of his mirth,
A dimpled Cupid at her side
Conquered, weary with the light,
Her eyelids orb :
Summer's plenitude of might
Her lips absorb,—
Uplifted to the burning air
And with repletion fallen apart.
Her form is bare,
But her doe-skin binds each dart
Of her woodland armory,
Laid idle by.
She is curled beyond the rim
Of oaks that slide
Their lowest branches, long and slim,
Close to her side ;
Their foliage touches her with lobes
Half-gay, half-shadowed, green and brown :
Her white throat globes,
Thrown backward, and her breasts sink down
With the supineness of her sleep,
Leaf-fringed and deep.
Where her hand has curved to slip
Across a bough,
Fledged Cupid's slumberous fingers grip
The turf and how
Close to his chin he hugs her cloak !
His torch reversed trails on the ground
With feeble smoke ;
For in noon's chastity profound,
In the blank glare of mid-day skies,
Love's flambeau dies.
But the sleepers are not left
To breathe alone ;
A god is by with hoofs deep-cleft,
With a rough pelt and body strong :
Yet must the head and piercing eyes
In truth belong
To some Olympian in disguise ;
From lawless shape or mien unkempt
They are exempt.
Zeus, beneath these oaken boughs,
As satyr keeps
His watch above the woman's brows
And backward sweeps
Her cloak to flood her with the noon ;
Curious and fond, yet by a clear
Joy in the boon
Of beauty franchised—beauty dear
To him as to a tree's bent mass
The sunny grass.