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As the sun rose o'er sea-girt Salamis,
And in his might broke through the kindly mists
That would have given weary mortals more
Of sleep's ambrosial forgetfulness,
The busy toilers of the island woke,
Praising the Gods for light and day; and so
Trooped cheerily afield through crisp fresh dews
To gather in the vintage of the year,
Chaunting the while glad Dithyrambic lays.


But all too soon the merry song died out:
There was a sudden, solemn hush; and then
The pent-up hum of startled wondering speech,
And here and there the shrill hysteric wail
Of women weeping as they realized
How Iphis, best beloved of all their youth,
Was dead and could no more delight their eyes,
Nor quicken weary hearts to dreams of bliss.
Iphis, who seemed so like a God to them!


So passing was his beauty, and so kind
And so fair-spoken was he unto all.
And lo, to this man life had seemed too sad
To be endured! and in the morning light
The crowd beheld his body, stiff and stark,
Dangle athwart a tree, that evil set
Stood by the gate of that fair-gardened house,
Where lived the maiden Anaxarete,
Who verily of her hard-heartedness
Had made his hands to do this evil thing
Unto his life. And now, drawn by the noise,
She came upon the portico, and saw
Those God-like limbs hang prone and purposeless,
A wreck that she had made--and how the face,
The erst fair face of one who loved her well,
Was grown with violent death, a horrid thing
To look upon. And yet she shuddered not--
Almost her ripe red mouth curled with a smile.
"So he is dead at last," she said, "the fool
Who wearied me so long, importunate
Of love. One does not love the slave who comes
At beck and call--scarce less ignoble he.
'Tis God-like to be beautiful, they say.
May be, but that is not to be a God.
Have I not beauty and enough for two?
I would not have my lover emulate
My charms. He should be strong, and brave, and wise,
A pillar one might lean upon; not as
This puling imbecile licking one's hand
Like beaten, hungry hound. Ho! there, some slaves
Carry away this thing." So saying turned.


But angry were the women there, and rushed
Upon her, and with curses, taunts, and blows,
Dragged her beneath the tree, and there with stones
And bricks, and whatso'er their hands might reach,
Crushed out her life as cruelly as she
Had done that other one.