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43 Works of Josephine Preston Peabody

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And thou, Wayfaring Woman, whom I meetOn all the highways,–every brimming street,Lady Demeter, is it thou, grown gauntWith work and want?At last, and with what shamed and stricken eyes,I see through thy disguiseOf drudge and Exile,–even the holy boonThat silvers yonder in the Harvest-moon;–That dimly under glowsThe furrows of thy worn immortal face,With mother-grace. O […]

Yes, Nightingale, through all the summer-timeWe followed on, from moon to golden moon;From where Salerno day-dreams in the noon,And the far rose of Paestum once did climb.All the white way beside the girdling blue,Through sun-shrill vines and campanile chime,We listened;–from the old year to the new.Brown bird, and where were you? You, that Ravello lured […]

Gladness

Story type: Poetry

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Unto my Gladness then I cried:‘I will not be denied!Answer me now; and tell me whyThou dost not fall, as a broken starOut of the Dark where such things are,And where such bright things die.How canst thou, with thy fountain danceShatter clear sight with radiance?–How canst thou reach and soar, and fling,Over my heart’s dark […]

The Long Lane

Story type: Poetry

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All through the summer night, down the long lane in flower,The moon-white lane,All through the summer night,–dim as a shower,Glimmer and fade the Twain:Over the cricket hosts, throbbing the hour by hour,Young voices bloom and wane. Down the long lane they go, and past one window, paleWith visions silver-blurred;Stirring the heart that waits,–the eyes that […]

Ah but, Beloved, men may doAll things to music;–march, and die;And wear the longest vigil through,… And say good-by.All things to music!–Ah, but wherePeace never falls upon the air;–These city-ways of dark and dinWhere greed has shut and barred them in!And thundering, swart against the sky,That whirlwind,–never to go by–Of tracks and wheels, that overheadBeat […]

Brook, of the listening grass,Brook of the sun-fleckt wings,Brook of the same wild way and flickering spell!Must you begone? Will you forever pass,After so many years and dear to tell?–Brook of all hoverings …Brook that I kneel above;Brook of my love. Ah, but I have a charm to trouble you;A spell that shall subdueYour all-escaping […]

You, Four Walls,Wall not in my heart!When the lovely night-time fallsAll so welcomely,Blinding, sweet hearth-fire,Light of heart’s desire,Blind not, blind not me!Unto them that weep apart,–While you glow, within,Wreckt, despairing kin,–Dark with misery:–Do not blind my heart! You, close Heart!Never hide from mineWorlds that I divineThrough thy human dearness.O beloved Nearness,Hallow all I understandWith thy […]

The Golden Shoes

Story type: Poetry

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The winds are lashing on the sea;The roads are blind with storm.And it’s far and far away with me;So bide you there, stay warm.It’s forth I must, and forth to-day;And I have no path to choose.The highway hill, it is my way still.–Give me my golden shoes. God gave them me on that first dayI […]

Vestal Flame

Story type: Poetry

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Light, light,–the last:Till the night be done,Keep the watch for stars and sun, and eyelids over-cast. Once there seemed a sky,Brooding over men.Now no stars have come again, since their bright good-bye! Once my dreams were wise.Now I nothing know;Fasting and the dark have so put out my heart’s eyes. But thy golden breathBurns against […]

Noon At Paestum

Story type: Poetry

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Lord of the Sea, we sun-filled creatures raiseOur hands among the clamorous weeds,–we too.Lord of the Sun, and of the upper blue,Of all To-morrow, and all yesterdays,Here, where the thousand broken names and waysOf worship are but shards we wandered through,There is no gift to offer, or undo;There is no prayer left in us, only […]

The dark had left no speech save hand-in-handBetween us two the while, with others near.Mine questioned thine with ‘Why should I be here?’‘Yet bide thou here,’ said thine, ‘and understand.’ And mine was mute; but strove not then to go;And hid itself, and murmured, ‘Do not hearThe listening in my heart!’ Said thine, ‘My Dear,I […]

But we did walk in Eden,Eden, the garden of God;–There, where no beckoning wonderOf all the paths we trod,No choiring sun-filled vineyard,No voice of stream or bird,But was some radiant oracleAnd flaming with the Word! Mine ears are dim with voices;Mine eyes yet strive to seeThe black things here to wonder at,The mirth,–the misery.Beloved, who […]

The Foundling

Story type: Poetry

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Beautiful Mother, I have toiled all day;And I am wearied. And the day is done.Now, while the wild brooks runSoft by the furrows–fading, gold to gray,Their laughters turned to musing–ah, let meHide here my face at thine unheeding knee,Beautiful Mother; if I be thy son. The birds fly low. Gulls, starlings, hoverers,Along the meadows and […]

The Feaster

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, who will hush that cry outside the doors,While we are glad within?Go forth, go forth, all you my servitors;(And gather close, my kin.)Go out to her. Tell her we keep a feast,–Lost Loveliness who will not sit her downThough we implore.It is her silence binds me unreleased,It is her silence that no flute can […]

Love sang to me. And I went down the stair,And out into the darkness and the dew;And bowed myself unto the little grass,And the blind herbs, and the unshapen dustOf earth without a face. So let me be. For as I hear, the singing makes of meMy own desire, and momently I grow.Yea, all the […]

Beloved, if the Moon could weepOr if the Sun could seeHow all these weltering alleys keepTheir outcast treasury! O bitter, bitter-sweet!–Beauty of babyhood,–Earth’s wistful uttermost of goodFlung out upon the street;Fouled, even as the highways would,With mirk and mire and bruise;The cheek more petal-fineThan rose before a shrine!Those hands like star-fish in the ooze,And fingers […]

The Trees

Story type: Poetry

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I Now, in the thousandth year,When April’s near,Now comes it that the great ones of the earthTake all their mirthAway with them, far off, to orchard-places,–Nor they nor Solomon arrayed like these,–To sun themselves at ease;To breathe of wind-swept spaces;To see some miracle of leafy graces;–To catch the out-flowing rapture of the trees.Considering the lilies.–Yes. […]

The Singing Man

Story type: Poetry

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I He sang above the vineyards of the world.And after him the vines with woven handsClambered and clung, and everywhere unfurledTriumphing green above the barren lands;Till high as gardens grow, he climbed, he stood,Sun-crowned with life and strength, and singing toil,And looked upon his work; and it was good:The corn, the wine, the oil. He […]

O, do you remember?–How it came to be?Far, golden windows gazing from the shore;Golden ebb of daylight; heart could hold no more:Beloved and Beloved, and the sea. Westward the sun,–low, slow and golden;Eastward the moon climbed, honey-pale.O do you remember? while our eyes were holden,Close, close upon us,–the Golden Sail?Wind-swift she came,–thing of living flame,Sea-breathing […]

‘Rich man, Poor man, Beggar man, Thief,Doctor, Lawyer, Merchant, Chief.‘ I Highway, stretched along the sun,Highway, thronged till day is done;Where the drifting Face replacesWave on wave on wave of faces,And you count them, one by one:‘Rich man–Poor man–Beggar man–Thief:Doctor–Lawyer–Merchant–Chief.‘Is it soothsay?–Is it fun? Young ones, like as wave and wave;Old ones, like as grave […]

Icarus And Daedalus

Story type: Literature

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Among all those mortals who grew so wise that they learned the secrets of the gods, none was more cunning than Daedalus. He once built, for King Minos of Crete, a wonderful Labyrinth of winding ways so cunningly tangled up and twisted around that, once inside, you could never find your way out again without […]

Phaethon

Story type: Literature

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Once upon a time, the reckless whim of a lad came near to destroying the Earth and robbing the spheres of their wits. There were two playmates, said to be of heavenly parentage. One was Epaphus, who claimed Zeus as a father; and one was Phaethon, the earthly child of Phoebus Apollo (or Helios, as […]

The Deluge

Story type: Literature

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Even with the gifts of Prometheus, men could not rest content. As years went by, they lost all the innocence of the early world; they grew more and more covetous and evil-hearted. Not satisfied with the fruits of the Earth, or with the fair work of their own hands, they delved in the ground after […]

Orpheus and Eurydice

Story type: Literature

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When gods and shepherds piped and the stars sang, that was the day of musicians! But the triumph of Phoebus Apollo himself was not so wonderful as the triumph of a mortal man who lived on earth, though some say that he came of divine lineage. This was Orpheus, that best of harpers, who went […]

The Wood-Folk

Story type: Literature

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Pan led a merrier life than all the other gods together. He was beloved alike by shepherds and countrymen, and by the fauns and satyrs, birds and beasts, of his own kingdom. The care of flocks and herds was his, and for home he had all the world of woods and waters; he was lord […]

The Judgment of Midas

Story type: Literature

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Pan came at length to be such a wonderful piper with his syrinx (for so he named his flute) that he challenged Apollo to make better music if he could. Now the sun-god was also the greatest of divine musicians, and he resolved to punish the vanity of the country-god, and so consented to the […]

Arachne

Story type: Literature

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Not among mortals alone were there contests of skill, nor yet among the gods, like Pan and Apollo. Many sorrows befell men because they grew arrogant in their own devices and coveted divine honors. There was once a great hunter, Orion, who outvied the gods themselves, till they took him away from his hunting-grounds and […]

Pyramus and Thisbe

Story type: Literature

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Venus did not always befriend true lovers, as she had befriended Hippomenes, with her three golden apples. Sometimes, in the enchanted island of Cyprus, she forgot her worshippers far away, and they called on her in vain. So it was in the sad story of Hero and Leander, who lived on opposite borders of the […]

Pygmalion and Galatea

Story type: Literature

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The island of Cyprus was dear to the heart of Venus. There her temples were kept with honor, and there, some say, she watched with the Loves and Graces over the long enchanted sleep of Adonis. This youth, a hunter whom she had dearly loved, had died of a wound from the tusk of a […]

The Calydonian Hunt

Story type: Literature

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In that day of the chase, there was one enterprise renowned above all others,–the great hunt of Calydon. Thither, in search of high adventure, went all the heroes of Greece, just as they joined the quest of the Golden Fleece, and, in a later day, went to the rescue of Fair Helen in the Trojan […]

Atalanta’s Race

Story type: Literature

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Even if Prince Meleager had lived, it is doubtful if he could ever have won Atalanta to be his wife. The maiden was resolved to live unwed, and at last she devised a plan to be rid of all her suitors. She was known far and wide as the swiftest runner of her time; and […]

Alcestis

Story type: Literature

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For many years the remembrance of Apollo’s service kept Thessaly full of sunlight. Where a god could work, the people took heart to work also. Flocks and herds throve, travellers were befriended, and men were happy under the rule of a happy king and queen. But one day Admetus fell ill, and he grew weaker […]

Apollo’s Sister

Story type: Literature

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I. DIANA AND ACTAEON. Like the Sun-god, whom men dreaded as the divine archer and loved as the divine singer, Diana, his sister, had two natures, as different as day from night. On earth she delighted in the wild life of the chase, keeping holiday among the dryads, and hunting with all those nymphs that […]

Niobe

Story type: Literature

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There are so many tales of the vanity of kings and queens that the half of them cannot be told. There was Cassiopaeia, queen of Aethiopia, who boasted that her beauty outshone the beauty of all the sea-nymphs, so that in anger they sent a horrible sea-serpent to ravage the coast. The king prayed of […]

Apollo did not live always free of care, though he was the most glorious of the gods. One day, in anger with the Cyclopes who work at the forges of Vulcan, he sent his arrows after them, to the wrath of all the gods, but especially of Zeus. (For the Cyclopes always make his thunderbolts, […]

I. THE CURSE OF POLYPHEMUS. Of all the heroes that wandered far and wide before they came to their homes again after the fall of Troy, none suffered so many hardships as Odysseus. There was, indeed, one other man whose adventures have been likened to his, and this was Aeneas, a Trojan hero. He escaped […]

I. THE APPLE OF DISCORD. There was once a war so great that the sound of it has come ringing down the centuries from singer to singer, and will never die. The rivalries of men and gods brought about many calamities, but none so heavy as this; and it would never have come to pass, […]

The House of Agamemnon

Story type: Literature

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The Greeks had won back Fair Helen, and had burned the city of Troy behind them, but theirs was no triumphant voyage home. Many were driven far and wide before they saw their land again, and one who escaped such hardships came home to find a bitter welcome. This was the chief of all the […]

Cupid and Psyche

Story type: Literature

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Once upon a time, through that Destiny that overrules the gods, Love himself gave up his immortal heart to a mortal maiden. And thus it came to pass. There was a certain king who had three beautiful daughters. The two elder married princes of great renown; but Psyche, the youngest, was so radiantly fair that […]

The Trial of Psyche

Story type: Literature

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Over mountains and valleys Psyche journeyed alone until she came to the city where her two envious sisters lived with the princes whom they had married. She stayed with them only long enough to tell the story of her unbelief and its penalty. Then she set out again to search for Love. As she wandered […]

Oedipus

Story type: Literature

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Behind the power of the gods and beyond all the efforts of men, the three Fates sat at their spinning. No one could tell whence these sisters were, but by some strange necessity they spun the web of human life and made destinies without knowing why. It was not for Clotho to decree whether the […]

Envoi

Story type: Poetry

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Beloved, till the day break,Leave wide the little door;And bless, to lack and longing,Our brimming more-and-more. Is love a scanted portion,That we should hoard thereof?–Oh, call unto the deserts,Beloved and my Love!

I Over the broken world, the dark gone by,Horror of outcast darkness torn with wars;And timeless agonyOf the white fire, heaped high by blinded Stars,Unfaltering, unaghast;–Out of the midmost FireAt last,–at last,–Cry! …O darkness’ one desire,–O darkness, have you heard?–Black Chaos, blindly striving towards the Word?–The Cry! Behold thy conqueror, Death!Behold, behold from whomIt flutters […]