Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
997. Arcana Sylvarum
 
By Charles de Kay
 
 
HARK!
What booming
Faints on the high-strung ear?
Through the damp woods (so dark
No flowers are blooming)        5
I hear, I hear
The twang of harps, the leap
Of hairy feet, and know the revel’s ripe,
While, like a coral stripe,
The lizard cool doth creep,        10
Monster, but monarch there, up the pale Indian Pipe.
 
Hush!…
Your panting
Will scare them from their game.
Let not a footfall crush        15
Their rites enchanting!
The deadwood’s flame,
Bellies of murdered fire-flies,
And glimmering moonstones thick with treasured rays
Shall help our round-eyed gaze        20
Antics unholy to surprise,
Which the ungodly crew round the red lizard plays.
 
Now!…
No breathing
To spoil the heathenish dance!        25
Lest from each pendent bough
Poison be seething,—
A hair-fine lance
Pierce to our brain, and slowly slay.
But look your breathless fill, and mark them swing,        30
Man and maid a-capering,
Ugly, fair, morosely gay,
Round the red lizard smooth, crowned for their wicked king.
 
Back!…
Inhuman        35
Are gestures, laughs, and jeers.
Off, ere we lose the track!
Nor man nor woman
May stand your leers,
Shameless and loose, uncovered creatures!        40
Quick, lest we join their orgies in the dark!
Back! For the madness stark
Is crawling through our natures
To touch the red lizard vile, spread on the damp white bark.
 

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