**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Poem.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Hero And Leander
by [?]


For what rich merchant but will pause in fear,
To trust his wealth to the unsafe abyss?
So Hero dotes upon her treasure here,
And sums the loss with many an anxious kiss,
Whilst her fond eyes grow dizzy in her head,
Fear aggravating fear with shows of dread.


She thinks how many have been sunk and drown’d,
And spies their snow-white bones below the deep,
Then calls huge congregated monsters round,
And plants a rock wherever he would leap;
Anon she dwells on a fantastic dream,
Which she interprets of that fatal stream.


Saying, “That honied fly I saw was thee,
Which lighted on a water-lily’s cup,
When, lo! the flower, enamor’d of my bee,
Closed on him suddenly and lock’d him up,
And he was smother’d in her drenching dew;
Therefore this day thy drowning I shall rue.”


But next, remembering her virgin fame,
She clips him in her arms and bids him go,
But seeing him break loose, repents her shame,
And plucks him back upon her bosom’s snow;
And tears unfix her iced resolve again,
As steadfast frosts are thaw’d by show’rs of rain.


O for a type of parting!–Love to love
Is like the fond attraction of two spheres,
Which needs a godlike effort to remove,
And then sink down their sunny atmospheres,
In rain and darkness on each ruin’d heart,
Nor yet their melodies will sound apart.


So brave Leander sunders from his bride;
The wrenching pang disparts his soul in twain;
Half stays with her, half goes towards the tide,–
And life must ache, until they join again.
Now wouldst thou know the wideness of the wound?–
Mete every step he takes upon the ground.


And for the agony and bosom-throe,
Let it be measured by the wide vast air,
For that is infinite, and so is woe,
Since parted lovers breathe it everywhere.
Look how it heaves Leander’s laboring chest,
Panting, at poise, upon a rocky crest!


From which he leaps into the scooping brine,
That shocks his bosom with a double chill;
Because, all hours, till the slow sun’s decline,
That cold divorcer will be ‘twixt them still;
Wherefore he likens it to Styx’ foul tide,
Where life grows death upon the other side.


Then sadly he confronts his twofold toil
Against rude waves and an unwilling mind,
Wishing, alas! with the stout rower’s toil,
That like a rower he might gaze behind,
And watch that lonely statue he hath left,
On her bleak summit, weeping and bereft!


Yet turning oft, he sees her troubled locks
Pursue him still the furthest that they may;
Her marble arms that overstretch the rocks,
And her pale passion’d hands that seem to pray
In dumb petition to the gods above:
Love prays devoutly when it prays for love!


Then with deep sighs he blows away the wave,
That hangs superfluous tears upon his cheek,
And bans his labor like a hopeless slave,
That, chain’d in hostile galley, faint and weak,
Plies on despairing through the restless foam,
Thoughtful of his lost love, and far-off home.


The drowsy mist before him chill and dank,
Like a dull lethargy o’erleans the sea,
When he rows on against the utter blank,
Steering as if to dim eternity,–
Like Love’s frail ghost departing with the dawn;
A failing shadow in the twilight drawn.


And soon is gone,–or nothing but a faint
And failing image in the eye of thought,
That mocks his model with an after-paint,
And stains an atom like the shape she sought;
Then with her earnest vows she hopes to fee
The old and hoary majesty of sea.