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208

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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208 ROMAN DA YS.
form contemporary with Antinous. He who first wrote
it down, was born about the time that Antinous died ;
but it was then already known and widely diffused. The
tradition seems like a sister to him. They bear each
other’s features, and over them both falls a glimmer of
the evening glow of departing antiquity.
Still there—where he a thousand years hath stood
And watched, with gaze intent, the ages’ flood
His graceful limbs reflecting, then as now,
His lotus-crown, the sadness on his brow.
And races new, in line unending, glide
Along in shells upon the flowing tide ;
With purple pennant, mast entwined with flow’rs.
And song and strings and jest, to charm the hours.
But aye, as they approach and look on him,
Athwart their joy there steals a sorrow dim :
The citherns cease, that rang ere they drew nigh,
On glowing lips the jests and kisses die.
For where he stands, eternal blooms the shore,
Around him laughs the Spring for evermore ;
But through the Spring their way, beyond a dark
Autumnal world, leads tow’rd a hidden mark.
Into the azure depths his glances thrown.
The riddle search, that race on race hath known
And pondered on, but left unsolved, as done
Its task, it vanished with the setting sun.
What vision rivets, then, the eye cast down ?
What means the cloud of grief beneath the crown?
O if that sorrowing gentle face of his
Reflect the mystery of all that is !
And lo, the heart is seized by infinite woe.
With arms outstretched they gaze, as on they go:
" O waken, boy, O waken from thy dream
!
Say what thou seest, below the ages’ stream !
" Tell us, is life’s enigma known to thee:
Give us thy own fair immortality !
"

But ere he from his revery waken, they
Have with the river drifted far away.

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