Ere the wet seas had quenched that holocaust, That self-fed flame, that passionate lustihead, Ere grisly death with chill and nipping frost Had withered up those lilies white and red Which, while the boy would through the forest range, Answered each other in a sweet antiphonal counter-change.
And when at dawn the wood-nymphs, hand-in-hand, Threaded the bosky dell, their satyr spied The boy’s pale body stretched upon the sand, And feared Poseidon’s treachery, and cried, And like bright sunbeams flitting through a glade Each startled Dryad sought some safe and leafy ambuscade.
Save one white girl, who deemed it would not be So dread a thing to feel a sea-god’s arms Crushing her breasts in amorous tyranny, And longed to listen to those subtle charms Insidious lovers weave when they would win Some fenced fortress, and stole back again, nor thought it sin
To yield her treasure unto one so fair, And lay beside him, thirsty with love’s drouth, Called him soft names, played with his tangled hair, And with hot lips made havoc of his mouth Afraid he might not wake, and then afraid Lest he might wake too soon, fled back, and then, fond renegade,
Returned to fresh assault, and all day long Sat at his side, and laughed at her new toy, And held his hand, and sang her sweetest song, Then frowned to see how froward was the boy Who would not with her maidenhood entwine, Nor knew that three days since his eyes had looked on Proserpine;
Nor knew what sacrilege his lips had done, But said, ‘He will awake, I know him well, He will awake at evening when the sun Hangs his red shield on Corinth’s citadel; This sleep is but a cruel treachery To make me love him more, and in some cavern of the sea