Ezra Pound

from Women of Trachis

Strophe I
PHOEBUS, Phoebus, ere thou slay
and lay flaked Night upon her blazing pyre,
Say, ere the last star-shimmer is run:
Where lies Alkmene’s son, apart from me?
Aye, thou art keen, as is the lightning blaze,
Land way, sea ways,
in these some slit hath he
found to escape thy scrutiny?

Antistrophe I
DAYSAIR is left alone,
        so sorry a bird,
For whom, afore, so many suitors tried.
And shall I ask what thing is heart’s desire;
Or how love fall to sleep with tearless eye,
So worn by fear away, of dangerous road,
A manless bride to mourn in vacant room,
Expecting ever the worse,
        of dooms to come?

Strophe II
NORTH WIND, or South, so bloweth tireless
wave over wave to flood.
Cretan of Cadmus’ blood, Orcus’ shafts err not.
What home hast ‘ou now,
          an some God stir not?

Antistrophe II
PARDON if I reprove thee, Lady,
To save thee false hopes delayed.
Thinkst thou that man who dies,
Shall from King Chronos take
        unvaried happiness?
Nor yet’s all pain.

The shifty Night delays not,
Nor fates of men, nor yet rich goods and spoil.
Be swift to enjoy, what thou art swift to lose.
Let not the Queen choose despair.
Hath Zeus no eye (who saith it?)
       watching his progeny?