Maurice Thompson

Diana

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She had a bow of yellow horn,
Like the old moon at early morn.


She had three arrows strong and good,
Steel set in feathered cornel wood.


Like purest pearl her left breast shone
Above her kirtle's emerald zone;


Her right was bound in silk well-knit,
Lest her bowstring should sever it.


Ripe lips she had, and clear gray eyes,
And hair pure gold blown hoiden-wise


Across her face, like shining mist
That with dawn's flush is faintly kissed.


Her limbs how matched and round and fine!
How free like song! how strong like wine!


And, timed to music wild and sweet,
How swift her silver-sandaled feet!


Single of heart and strong of hand,
Wind-like she wandered through the land,


No man (or king or lord or churl)
Dared whisper love to that fair girl.


And woe to him who came upon
Her nude, at bath, like Acteon!


So dire his fate that one who heard
The flutter of a bathing bird,


What time he crossed a breezy wood,
Felt sudden quickening of his blood;


Cast one swift look, then ran away
Far through the green, thick groves of May;


Afeard, lest down the wind of spring
He'd hear an arrow whispering!

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Maurice Thompson