Syrinx

Original Text: 
The Poems of Henry Kendall, ed. Bertram Stephens (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1920): 125-26. Sydney Electronic Text and Image Service (SETIS), digital text sponsored by AustLit: http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit
2    Unknown to foot or feather!
3A sea-voice moaning like a ghost;
4    And fits of fiery weather!
5The flying Syrinx turned and sped
6    By dim, mysterious hollows,
7Where night is black, and day is red,
8    And frost the fire-wind follows.
9Strong, heavy footfalls in the wake
10    Came up with flights of water:
11The gods were mournful for the sake
13For when she came to spike and spine,
14    Where reef and river gather,
16    She could not travel farther.
17Across a naked strait of land
18    Blown sleet and surge were humming;
20    She heard the monster coming!
21A thing of hoofs and horns and lust!
22    A gaunt goat-footed stranger!
23She bowed her body in the dust,
27To hide her in the thickets sweet
28    That sighed above the river.
30    And rules the sea and thunder,
32    And tore his skirts asunder.
34    Took Ladon's daughter lightly,
35And set her in the gracious glooms
36    That mix with moon-mist nightly.
37And touched her lips with wild-flower wine;
38    And changed her body slowly,
39Till, in soft reeds of song and shine
40    Her life was hidden wholly.

Notes

1] Syrinx: in Greek myth, a naiad (fresh-water nymph), daughter of the River Ladon in southern Greece. A chaste follower of the goddess Artemis, when pursued by the amorous, goat-footed god Pan, Syrinx called upon the gods for help, who transformed her into hollow reeds by the river's edge from which Pan made the first set of pan pipes. Back to Line
12] Ladon: a river in the region of Arkadia, in southern Greece. Back to Line
15] chine: a ridge or crest of land. Back to Line
19] trammelled: hindered, restrained. Back to Line
24] Zeus: god of the sky, ruler of all the other gods in ancient Greek myths. Back to Line
25] Hermes: messenger of the gods in Greek myth, and a god of travelers, boundaries, cunning, thieves, and commerce. Back to Line
26] her of hounds and quiver: Artemis, goddess of the hunt, wilderness and wild animals in Greek myrth, all of whose nymphs took a vow of chastity. Back to Line
29] He that sits on flaming wheels: Zeus. Back to Line
31] satyr: minor mythic deities of wood and mountain, companions to the gods Pan and Dionysius, and often portrayed as half man, half beast, as goat from the waist down. Back to Line
33] Arcas: son of Zeus and Callisto, a nymph and follower of Artemis. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1869
Publication Notes: 
i>Leaves from Australian Forests (1869)
RPO poem Editors: 
Cameron La Follette
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: 
Form: