The Modernist Web
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Ford Madox Ford
George Bernard Shaw
William Butler Yeats
The Fourth Canto
The Fourth Canto
PALACE in smoky light,
Troy but a heap of smouldering boundary-stones,
Hear me. Cadmus of Golden Prows!
The silver mirrors catch the bright stones and flare,
Dawn, to our waking, drifts in the green cool light;
Dew-haze blurrs, in the grass, pale ankles moving.
Beat, beat, whirr, thud, in the soft turf under the apple trees,
Choros nympharum, goat-foot with the pale foot alternate;
Crescent of blue-shot waters, green-gold in the shallows,
A black cock crows in the sea-foam;
And by the curved carved foot of the couch,
claw-foot and lion head, an old man seated
Speaking in the low drone: . . .
“Et ter flebiliter. Ityn, Ityn!
“And she went toward the window and cast her down,
“All the while, the while, swallows crying:
It is Cabestan’s heart in the dish.”
It is Cabestan’s heart in the dish?
No other taste shall change this”
And she went toward the window,
the slim white stone bar
Making a double arch;
Firm even fingers held to the firm pale stone;
Swung for a moment,
and the wind out of Rhodez
Caught in the full of her sleeve.
. . . the swallows crying:
Actaeon. . . .
And a valley,
The valley is thick with leaves, with leaves, the trees,
The sunlight glitters, glitters a-top,
Like a fish-scale roof,
Like the church-roof in Poictiers
If it were gold.
Beneath it, beneath it
Not a ray, not a slivver, not a spare disk of sunlight
Flaking the black, soft water;
Bathing the body of nymphs, of nymphs, and Diana,
Nymphs, white-gathered about her, and the air, air,
Shaking, air alight with the goddess
fanning their hair in the dark,
Lifting, lifting and waffing:
Ivory dipping in silver,
Ivory dipping in silver,
Not a splotch, not a lost shatter of sunlight.
Then Actaeon: Vidal,
Vidal. It is old Vidal speaking,
stumbling along in the wood,
Not a patch, not a lost shimmer of sunlight,
the pale hair of the goddess.
The dogs leap on Actaeon,
“Hither, hither, Actaeon,”
Spotted stag of the wood;
Gold, gold, a sheaf of hair,
Thick like a wheat swath,
Blaze, blaze in the sun,
The dogs leap on Actaeon.
Stumbling, stumbling along in the wood,
Muttering, muttering Ovid:
“Pergusa . . . pool . . pool . . . Gargaphia,
“Pool, pool of Salmacis.”
The empty armour shakes as the cygnet moves.
Thus the light rains, thus pours, e lo soleils plovil,
The liquid, and rushing crystal
whirls up the bright brown sand.
Ply over ply, thin glitter of water;
Brook film bearing white petals
(“'The pines of Takasago grow with pines of Isé”)
“Behold the Tree of the Visages.”
The forked tips flaming as if with lotus,
Ply over ply
The shallow eddying fluid
beneath the knees of the gods.
Torches melt in the glare
Set dame of the corner cook-stall,
Blue agate casing the sky, a sputter of resin;
The saffron sandal petals the narrow foot, Hymenaeus!
Io Hymen, Io Hymenaee! Aurunculeia!
The scarlet flower is cast on the blanch-white stone,
Armaracus, Hill of Urania’s Son.
“This wind, sire, is the king’s wind,
this wind is wind of the palace
Shaking imperial water-jets.”
And Ran-Ti, opening his collar:
“This wind roars in the earth’s bag,
it lays the water with rushes;
“No wind is the king’s wind.
Let every cow keep her calf.”
“This wind is held in gauze curtains . . . ”
“No wind is the king’s. . .”
The camel drivers sit in the turn of the stairs,
look down to Ecbatan of plotted streets,
What wind is the king’s?”
Smoke hangs on the stream,
The peach-trees shed bright leaves in the water,
Sound drifts in the evening haze,
The barge scrapes at the ford.
Gilt rafters above black water;
three steps in an open field
Gray stone-posts leading nowhither.
The Spanish poppies swim in an air of glass.
Père Henri Jacques still seeks the sennin on Rokku.
As Gyges on Thracian platter, set the feast;
It is Cabestan’s heart in the dish.
Vidal, tracked out with dogs . . for glamour of Loba;
Upon the gilded tower in Ecbatan
Lay the god’s bride, lay ever
Waiting the golden rain.
But to-day, Garonne is thick like paint, beyond Dorada,
The worm of the Procession bores in the soup of the crowd
The blue thin voices against the crash of the crowd
Et “Salve regina.”
Wound over with small Bowers, beyond Adige
In the but half-used room, thin film of images,
Age of unbodied gods, the vitreous fragile images
Thin as the locust’s wing
Haunting the mind . . as of Guido . . .
Thin as the locust’s wing. The Centaur’s heel
Plants in the earth-loam.