Homage to Darío

translated from the Spanish by Agnes Blake Poor

Sadly mourns the fair princess, while her golden bees,
Clustering together in the stillness of the sun,
Murmur faintly like the waves of enchanted seas.
Knight and Squire around her are striving, every one,
Vainly striving to awake on her cheek the blush,
Soft as on an evening cloud the last sunset flush.

Sadly mourns the centaur troop from the classic lands,
Suddenly arrested on some distant shore,
By the cadence of the waves, like a funeral band,
Till they cover all the marge, and are heard no more.
Till the last faint ripple, with a sobbing breath,
Dies away in silence, and all is still as death.

Sacred swans of poesy, snow-white and snow-soft,
Floating heaps of slumber on waveless lakes afar;
Royal train of peacocks, with crested heads aloft,
Such as pace majestic, linked to Juno’s car.
Or in Versailles gardens step slowly one by one,
Past the steps of Pompadour’s rose-heaped, rose-hung throne.

Floating vapors slowly rise and wreathe, wind-swept and pale;
Hiding arching necks of snow, shining crests of blue;
Sad and sweet the murmurs through the misty veil,
Till the poet’s song resounds, the flowerless desert through;
And but for a moment rings the Sonatina’s lay,
Roaring winds and thunder peals sweep it far away.

                  *      *      *      *      *      *

The spectral Archer of the Northern sky,
Bends his great bow across the sphere on high;
Through the unmeasured realms of night and day,
Speeds his black arrow on its destined way.
It strikes, but pierces not, the poet’s breast,
His empty quiver near him lies at rest,
And over him sinks slowly in the West
            The Archer Boy.

Let no loud weeping chill the budding bloom,
That elves and nymphs have wreathed about his tomb,
The gentle Syrinx mourns his shortened years,
And on his laurels Pan sheds quiet tears;
In the cathedral raise the exile’s Psalm,
That through the transepts breathes like sorrow’s balm,
And in the tinted window rises calm
            The Archer Boy

And now the band of those who loved him best
Follows him slowly to his place of rest.
To the slow beating of the muffled drum
With heads bowed down and measured tread they come.
Pale and serene, fixed in triumphant peace,
His noble face bids lamentation cease,
His only fitting requiem shall be
The pealing Psalm that tells of victory.
The blazoned banners float above his bier,
And from blue far-off waters rises clear
            The swan-song on the ear!

From Pan-American Poems: An Anthology (The Gorham Press, 1918) by Agnes Blake Poor. This poem is in the public domain.