Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

(1834-1894 / England)

Siren Bowers, And The Triumph Of Bacchus - Poem by Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

'Here are bowers
In halls of pleasure,
Flushed with flowers
For love or leisure;
Breathes no pain here,
Theirs, nor yours,
All are fain here
Of honeyed hours;
Here in pleasure
Hide we pain,
None may measure,
Nor refrain;
Beauty blooming,
And flowing wine!
Yonder glooming,
Here Love-shine!
Breathes no pain here,
Theirs nor thine,
O remain here!
Low recline!
In Love's illuming
Woes all wane,
Of beauty blooming
All are fain!
O remain here!
Lo! Love shining
After rain!

The air faints with aroma of sweet flowers,
Marrying many-tendrilled labyrinths
Dew-diamonded, a harmony of hues;
And some are flushed like delicate fair flesh
Of smooth, soft texture; delicate love-organs
Impetalled hide, depend their fairy forms;
Ruffled corolla, pitcher, salver, cell,
Dim haunts of humming-bird, or velvet moth;
Doves pulsate with white wings, and make soft sound.
Such was the floral roof; flowers overran
In lovely riot ample, mounting pillars,
Emergent from full bowers of greenery,
Water and marble, lily, water-lily,
Columns of alabaster, and soft stone,
That hath the moon's name, alternating far,
Innumerable, feebly luminous.
A mellow chime dividing the lulled hours
Embroiders them with fairy tone fourfold;
And we were soothed with ever-raining sound
Of fountains flying in the warm, low light
Of pendent lamp, wrought silver, gold, and gem,
Rich with adventure of immortal gods.
Fair acolyte waved censer, whence the curled
Perfume-cloud made the languid air one blue,
And linen-robèd priest on marble altar
Made offering of fruit to Queen Astarte.
Behind half-open broidery of bloom
The eye won often glimpse of an alcove
In floral bower, ceiled over with dim gold;
There velvet pile lay on the floor inlaid
From looms of India, or Ispahan,
With lace from Valenciennes, with silk or satin
For coverlid; they, with the downy pillow,
Have tint of purple plums, or apricot,
Of waning woods autumnal,
Salvia, moth-fan, plume of orient bird.
And here the storied walls luxuriant
Are mellow-limned; for lo! Pompeianwise,
All the young world feigned of a wanton joy,
Of Erôs, Io, Hebe, Ganymede,
And all the poets tell of Aphrodite,
Of her who lulled Ulysses in her isle,
The idle lake, the garden of Armida,
And more, what grave historian hath told
Of Rosamund, Antinous, Cleopatra,
Here forms of youthful loveliness recline,
I know not whether only tinted marble,
Or breathing amorous warm flesh and blood.
Now from a grove of laurel and oleander,
Plum, fragrant fig, vine, myrtle, fern, pomegranate,
Recalling Daphne, or Byblos, where the Queen
Hath cave and fane anear the falling water,
And where she wooed, won, tended her Adonis,
A masque of Beauty shone; young Dionysus
He seemed, the leader of the company,
Who lolled in a Chryselephantine car
Upon a pillow's damson velvet pile;
An undulating form voluptuous,
All one warm waved and breathing ivory,
Aglow with male and female lovelihood,
The yellow panther fur worn negligent
Fondling one shoulder; stealthy-footed these
That hale the chariot, one a lithe, large tiger,
Blackbarred, and fulvous, eyed with furnace-flame,
A tawny lion one, his mane a jungle.
The face was fair and beardless like a maid's,
The soft waved hair vine-filleted; he held
Aloft with one white arm's rare symmetry
A crystal brimmed with blood of grape that hath
Heart like a lucid carbuncle; some fallen
Over his form envermeiled more the rose
Of ample bosom, and love-moulded flank;
The fir-coned thyrsus lying along the shoulder,
And listless fingered by a delicate hand,
The languid eyes dim-dewy with desire.
Some foam-fair, and some amber of deep tone
The company to rear of him, yet nigh,
Fawn-youths and maidens robed in woven wind
Of that fine alien fabric, hiding only
As lucid wave hides, or a vernal haze;
But some were rough and red, and rudely hewn,
Goat-shagged, satyric; all high-held the vine,
(Or quaffed it reeling), and the fir-cone rod;
The fairer filleted with violet,
Anemone, or rose, Adonis-flower,
The rude with vine, or ivy; syrinx, flute,
Sweetly they breathed into; anon they pause,
Till Dionysus, from his car descending,
Tipsily leaned on one who may have been
That swart and swollen comrade, old Silenus,
Fain to enfold the yielding and flushed form,
Even as when the god wooed Ariadne;
So one may see them on a vase, or gem.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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