For Diana

Why do the green-lit woods no longer ring

With the sound of chase and merry hunting horn;

Why do the murm’ring brooks no longer sing

While the verdant glades lie silently forlorn?

Once, as I roamed the forest musing wide,

I came upon a clearing cool and shady

Where I thought to rest, when straight I spied

The leafy bushes part to show a lady

Clad in hunter’s garb – her tunic hitched

Above the knee for tireless legs’ pursuit,

Her dress’s white with laurel leaves was stitched,

Her bow of yew and quiver full behind

Her back were slung, for she hunts the White Hart

That suffers not the deadly dart unkind

Nor lets himself be caught by woodman’s art,

But by naked hands and pure will deign

To let himself be found, by them who seek

In earnest highest guerdon to attain.

Thus she pursued with flushed and ruddied cheek,

For but one moment loveliness herself

Flashed across my ’stonished eye, then passed –

Like silvan dryad or enchanting elf –

In vain I wished that fairy vision would last.

By day I searched both densest briar and thorn

But still her woods did sore deserted seem,

By night I sang like Philomel forlorn

For then she haunted me in restless dreams.

Therefore the cumbersome lute I left behind,

And now instead pursue a higher quest.

And as my feet grow ever swift as hinds’

I hope to meet her where we’ll both from hunting rest.

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Filed under Classical, Love poems, Medieval

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