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Henry O'Meara Ballads of America



[The classic conceit as to the origin of the Hyacinth was that Apollo raised it from the blood of his beloved Hyacinthus, as a memorial to that victim of the envious Zephyrus.]

AS Spring advanced, else why her envoys here -
These nuncios of bloom proclaiming nigh
Her matin primal in the bloss'ming year -
Coyly her bulbs from beds unfrosted peer,
The coquette, Hyacinth, tempting Boreas' sky?
Too swift this herald spurns her season's speed -
The sphere wherein her Vernal kin aspire,
Yet fit disowns a taint of Winter's breed -
Scion of stock so fair - so pure of seed,
Was never offspring of Hibernal Sire.
Why seek to rise when no sweet colleague can,
To greet thy suitors ere they sanguine call -
A pretty marplot in the flow'ring plan,
Outstepping Flora's ranks to win the van -
To lead them captive in thy luring thrall?
Dost thou dispute the Storm-king's sway,
In sortie plant the standard of the spring,
Or, self-doomed as Telemachus, essay
The conflict of fierce elements to stay -
Athwart their strifes thy fragile body fling?
Ah! subtler forces draw thee thus apace
To ope thy charms despite the boreal breath,
Frail nymph enamored of thy sun-god's face,
Oblivious of the fate that limned thy race
The deed that wrought fond Hyacinthus' death.
Thy parent stem was reared, as poets sang,
Apollo's grief to symbol yet assuage -
To speak his stricken love - allay his pang;
Flushed with that beauteous Spartan's blood she sprang
Formed of that martyr to Zephyrus' rage.
Firstling of the bulb-queen's progeny and pride,
Precocious now, yet precious in our view -
Strange, but not alien, bloom to love allied,
From treacherous blasts thy head empurpled hide,
Rest till the season's truth evoke thy hue.
Anon when thy spring-tide spouse shall bid thee rise
In luteous veiling as a Roman bride,
When saffron beams shall meet thy sapphire dyes,
Blent in the iris of his affluent eyes,
Vested in ambient Beauty's robes abide.
Linked then to glad florescent life assume
Aurora's right to mark the Vernal hours,
The dawning of the roseate year relume
That weds the aureate to the floral bloom,
The sun's affusions to thine azured flowers.
Rapt as Laconia in her love divine
Our spring's oblation of thy praise shall be -
Her incense flooding Hyacinthus' shrine
Shall float in vibrant effluence to thine,
Our pæns, O sun-wooed Hyacinth, to thee!




Edited and formatted by Sheldon Brown
updated Wednesday, April 19, 2000
Copyright © 2000, 2007 Sheldon Brown