Delphic Kansas

Kate Stephens
1853-1938

Fragments, In English, From An Old, Greek Poet
Antiphone
 
(Alcman delighted in composing songs for Spartan girls, and
in teaching the girls to sing and dance his songs in process-
ional choruses. This fragment from one of his graceful par-
thenia touchingly refers to the old age that now keeps him
from his wonted drill.)
 
No longer, maids of honey voice and yearning tones,
Can my limbs bear me. O that I were the cerylus!
Who skims o'er blossoms of the wave together on the wing
With kingfishers, a dauntless heart, sea-purple bird of spring.
 
The Peace of Night
 
(This second fragment tells in exquisite detail and complete-
ness how the sleep of nature appealed to the ancient.  Alcman
may have composed it as he stood under the midnight stars in
the vale of Lacedaemon, his imagination passing from the
peaks of neighboring Taygetus, down through the peopled
forests of the mountain sides, to the Mediterranean which
washes the base.)

 
The range's peaks, and their gullied sides, lie wrapt in sleep;
The jutting headlands and swoln mountain torrents;
Things that creep, all whatsoever the black earth cloth nourish;
Beasts that haunt the heights; the swarms of bees;
Flocks of swift-winged birds;
And in the deeps of the purple sea huge monsters;
            -All wrapt in sleep.

Delphic Kansas
Kate Stephens
(Woodstock, N.Y.: The Maverick Press. 1911)
 
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