Hyperbion By Walter Savage Landor

Hyperbion

Hyperbion was among the chosen few
Of Phoebus; and men honored him awhile,
Honoring in him the God. But others sang
As loudly; and the boys as loudly cheer’d.
Hyperbion (more than bard should be) was wroth,
And thus he spake to Phoebus: ‘Hearest thou,
O Phoebus! the rude rabble from the field,
Who swear that they have known thee ever since
Thou feddest for Admetos his white bull?’
‘I hear them,’ said the God. ‘Seize thou the first
And haul him up above the heads of men,
And thou shalt hear them shout for thee as pleas’d.’
Headstrong and proud Hyperbion was: the crown
Of laurel on it badly cool’d his brow:
So, when he heard them singing at his gate,
While some with flints cut there the rival’s name,
Rushing he seiz’d the songster at their head:
The songster kickt and struggled hard; in vain.
Hyperbion claspt him round with arm robust,
And with the left a hempen rope uncoil’d,
Whereon already was a noose: it held
The calf until the mother’s teat was drawn
At morn and eve; and both were now afield.
With all his strength he pull’d the wretch along,
And haul’d him up a pine-tree where he died.
But one night, not long after, in his sleep
He saw the songster: then did he beseech
Apollo to enlighten him, if perchance
In what he did he had done aught amiss.
‘Thou hast done well, Hyperbion!’ said the God,
‘As I did also to one Marsyas
Some years ere thou wert born: but better ’twere
If thou hadst understood my words aright,
For those around may harm thee, and assign
As reason that thou wentest past the law.
My meaning was that thou shouldst hold him up
In the high places of thy mind, and show
Thyself the greater by enduring him.’
Downcast Hyperbion stood: but Phoebus said
‘Be of good cheer, Hyperbion! if the rope
Is not so frayed but it may hold thy calf,
The greatest harm is that by hauling him
Thou hast chafed, sorely, sorely, that old pine;
And pine-tree bark will never close again.’

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