Galatea

Original Text: 
The Poems of Henry Kendall, ed. Bertram Stephens (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1920): 224. Sydney Electronic Text and Image Service (SETIS), digital text sponsored by AustLit: http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit
2And fiery cones, and sultry spurs, and swarthy pits and passes!
                             * * * * *
3The long-haired Cyclops bated breath, and bit his lip and hearkened,
4And dug and dragged the stone of death, by ways that dipped and darkened.
5Across a tract of furnaced flints there came a wind of water,
8And Acis made a flute of reeds, and drew its accents slowly;
9And taught its spirit subtle sounds that leapt beyond suppression,
10And paused and panted on the bounds of fierce and fitful passion.
11Then he who shaped the cunning tune, by keen desire made bolder,
12Fell fainting, like a fervent noon, upon the sea-nymph's shoulder.
13Sicilian suns had laid a dower of light and life about her:
14Her beauty was a gracious flower--the heart fell dead without her.
15"Ah, Galatê," said Polypheme, "I would that I could find thee
16Some finest tone of hill or stream, wherewith to lull and bind thee!
17"What lyre is left of marvellous range, whose subtle strings, containing
18Some note supreme, might catch and change, or set thy passion waning?--
19"Thy passion for the fair-haired youth whose fleet, light feet perplex me
20By ledges rude, on paths uncouth, and broken ways that vex me?
21"Ah, turn to me! else violent sleep shall track the cunning lover;
22And thou wilt wait and thou wilt weep when I his haunts discover."
25And poised the bulk, and hurled the stone, and crushed the hidden Acis,
26And struck with sorrow drear and lone the sweetest of all faces.
27To Zeus, the mighty Father, she, with plaint and prayer, departed:
30Whose silver days and yellow nights made years of hallowed weather.
31Here Galatea used to come, and rest beside the river;
32Because, in faint, soft, blowing foam, her shepherd lived for ever.

Notes

1] Galatea: Nereid (sea-nymph) in Greek myth who was wooed by the giant brutish Cyclops Polyphemus, although she preferred the shepherd Acis. When Polyphemus saw that he could not turn Galatea's attention to himself, he murdered Acis. Galatea, grief-stricken, turned the dead shepherd into a stream. Back to Line
6] Tethys: a sea-goddess and embodiment of the waters of the world in Greek myth. Back to Line
7] môly: a mythical herb with black roots and white flowers held in ancient Greece to have magical properties, including the ability to ward off spells. Back to Line
23] Thôsa's son: Polyphemus. Back to Line
24] rifty runnel shaft: narrow stream channel. Back to Line
28] Ætna: Mount Etna, Sicily, the highest active volcano in Europe. Back to Line
29] lucent: glowing, giving off light. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1880
Publication Notes: 
Songs from the Mountains (1880)
RPO poem Editors: 
Cameron La Follette
RPO Edition: 
2011
Form: