DIONYSOS IN INDIA.
Fragment of a Lyrical Drama)
Verge of an upland glade among the Himalayas
. . . . . . . . . Hark! I
It is the wind
Leaping against the sunrise, on the heights.
No, no, yon mountain-springs—
Hark, Hark, O Hark!-
Are budding into foam-flowers: see, they fall
Laughing before the dawn—
DIONYSOS IN INDIA 49
O the sweet music!
(Timidly peeping over a cistus, uncurling into
Dear brother, say oh say what fills the air!
The leaves whisper, yet is not any wind:
I am afraid.
Be not afraid, dear child:
There is no gloom.
But silence: and—and—then,
The birds have suddenly ceased: and see, alow
The gossamer quivers where my startled hare—
Slipt from my leash—cow’rs ‘mid the foxglove-
His eyes like pansies in a lonely wood! [bells,
O I am afraid—afraid—though glad:—
I know not.
Never yet an evil God
Forsook the dusk. Lo, all our vales are filled
With light: the darkest shimmers in pale blue:
Nought is forlorn: no evil thing goeth by.
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They of the hills: they say
That a lost God—
Hush, Hush: beware!
There is no god in the blue empty air?
There is a lifting up of joy:
The morning moves in ecstasy. Never!
O never fairer morning dawned than this.
Somewhat is nigh!
May be: and yet I hear
Nought, save day’s familiar sounds, nought see
But the sweet concourse of familiar things.
Speak on, though never a single leaf but hears,
And, like the hollow shells o’ the twisted nuts
That fall in autumn, aye murmuringly holds
The breath of bygone sound. We know not when—
To whom—these little wavering tongues betray
Our heedless words, wild wanderers though we be.
What say the mountain-lords?
DIONYSOS IN INDIA 51
That a lost God
Fares hither through the dark, ever the dark.
Not the blank hollows of the night:
Blind is he, though a God: forgotten graves
The cavernous depths of his oblivious eyes.
His face is as the desert, blanched with ruins.
His voice none ever heard, though whispers say
That in the dead of icy winters far
Beyond the utmost peaks we ever clomb
It hath gone forth—a deep, an awful woe.
What seeks he?
No one knoweth.
Yet a God,
Ai so: and I have heard beside
That he is not as other Gods; but from vast age—
So vast, that in his youth those hills were wet
With the tossed spume of each returning tide—
He hath lost knowledge of the things that are,
All memory of what was, in that dim Past
Which was old time for him: and knoweth nought,
Nought feels, but inextinguishable pain,
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Titanic woe and burden of long aeons
Of unrequited quest.
But if he be
Of the Immortal Brotherhood, though blind,
How lost to them ?
I know not, I. ‘Tis said—
Lython the Centaur told me, in those days
When he had pity on me in his cave
Far up among the hills-that the Lost God
Is curs’d of all his kin, and that his curse
Lies like a cloud about their golden home:
So evermore he goeth to and fro—
The shadow of their glory. . . . . . .
Ai, he knows
The lost beginnings of the things that are:
We are but morning-dreams to him, and Man
But a fantastic shadow of the dawn:
The very Gods seem children to his age,
Who reigned before their birth-throes filled the sky
With the myriad shattered lights that are the stars.
Where reigned this ancient God?
Old Lython said
His kingdom was the Void, where evermore
Silence sits throned upon Oblivion.
DIONYSOS IN INDIA 53
What wants he here?
He hateth Helios,
And dogs his steps. None knoweth more.
Aha! I heed no dotard god! Behold,
My ears betrayed me not: O hearken now!
Brother, O brother, all the birds are wild
With song, and through the sun-splashed wood
A sound as of a multitude of wings.
The sun, the sun! the flowers in the grass!
Oh, the white glory!
‘Tis the Virgin God!
Hark, hear the hymns that thrill the winds of morn,
Wild paeans to the light! The white processionals!
They come! They come! . . . . . . .
Windover, Wm. [William Sharp]. “Dionysos in India.” The Pagan Review, vol. 1, August 1892, pp. 48-53. The Pagan Review Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2021. https://1890s.ca/tpr-windover-dionysos/