Oh Litis, little slave, why will you sleep? These long Egyptian noons bend down your head Bowed like the yarrow with a yellow bee. There, lift your eyes no man has ever kindled, Dark eyes that wait like faggots for the fire. See how the temple's solid square of shade Points north to Lesbos, and the splendid sea That you have never seen, oh evening-eyed. Yet have you never wondered what the Nile Is seeking always, restless and wild with spring And no less in the winter, seeking still? How shall I tell you? Can you think of fields Greater than Gods could till, more blue than night Sown over with the stars; and delicate With filmy nets of foam that come and go? It is more cruel and more compassionate Than harried earth. It takes with unconcern And quick forgetting, rapture of the rain And agony of thunder, the moon's white Soft-garmented virginity, and then The insatiable ardor of the sun. And me it took. But there is one more strong, Love, that came laughing from the elder seas, The Cyprian, the mother of the world; She gave me love who only asked for death— I who had seen much sorrow in men's eyes And in my own too sorrowful a fire. I was a sister of the stars, and yet Shaken with pain; sister of birds and yet The wings that bore my soul were very tired. I watched the careless spring too many times Light her green torches in a hungry wind; Too many times I watched them flare, and then Fall to forsaken embers in the autumn. And I was sick of all things—even song. In the dull autumn dawn I turned to death, Buried my living body in the sea, The strong cold sea that takes and does not give— But there is one more strong, the Cyprian. Litis, to wake from sleep and find your eyes Met in their first fresh upward gaze by love, Filled with love's happy shame from other eyes, Dazzled with tenderness and drowned in light As tho' you looked unthinking at the sun, Oh Litis, that is joy! But if you came Not from the sunny shallow pool of sleep, But from the sea of death, the strangling sea Of night and nothingness, and waked to find Love looking down upon you, glad and still, Strange and yet known forever, that is peace. So did he lean above me. Not a word He spoke; I only heard the morning sea Singing against his happy ship, the keen And straining joy of wind-awakened sails And songs of mariners, and in myself The precious pain of arms that held me fast. They warmed the cold sea out of all my blood; I slept, feeling his eyes above my sleep. There on the ship with wines and olives laden, Led by the stars to far invisible ports, Egypt and islands of the inner seas, Love came to me, and Cercolas was love.