The Lost Galleon and Other Tales

The Lost Tails of Miletus

Bret Harte

HIGH on the Thracian hills, half hid in the billows of clover,
Thyme, and the asphodel blooms, and lulled by Pactolian streamlet,
She of Miletus lay, and beside her an aged satyr
Scratched his ear with his hoof, and playfully mumbled his chestnuts.

Vainly the Mænid and the Bassarid gamboled about her,
The free-eyed Bacchante sang, and Pan—the renowned, the accomplished—
Executed his difficult solo.    In vain were their gambols and dances;
High o’er the Thracian hills rose the voice of the shepherdess, wailing:

“Ai! for the fleecy flocks, the meek-nosed, the passionless faces;
Ai! for the tallow-scented, the straight-tailed, the high-stepping;
Ai! for the timid glance, which is that which the rustic, sagacious,
Applies to him who loves but may not declare his passion!”

Her then Zeus answered slow: “O daughter of song and sorrow,
Hapless tender of sheep, arise from thy long lamentation!
Since thou canst not trust fate, nor behave as becomes a Greek maiden,
Look and behold thy sheep.” And lo! they returned to her tailless!

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