The White Bees

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Author: Henry Van Dyke

I
LEGEND

Long ago Apollo called to Aristaeus, youngest
of the shepherds,
Saying, "I will make you keeper of my bees."
Golden were the hives, and golden was the honey;
golden, too, the music,
Where the honey-makers hummed among the trees.

Happy Aristaeus loitered in the garden, wandered
in the orchard,
Careless and contented, indolent and free;
Lightly took his labour, lightly took his pleasure,
till the fated moment
When across his pathway came Eurydice.

Then her eyes enkindled burning love within him;
drove him wild with longing,
For the perfect sweetness of her flower-like face;
Eagerly he followed, while she fled before him,
over mead and mountain,
On through field and forest, in a breathless
race.

But the nymph, in flying, trod upon a serpent;
like a dream she vanished;
Pluto’s chariot bore her down among the dead;
Lonely Aristaeus, sadly home returning, found his
garden empty,
All the hives deserted, all the music fled.

Mournfully bewailing,—"ah, my honey-makers,
where have you departed?"—
Far and wide he sought them, over sea and shore;
Foolish is the tale that says he ever found them,
brought them home in triumph,—
Joys that once escape us fly for evermore.

Yet I dream that somewhere, clad in downy
whiteness, dwell the honey-makers,
In aerial gardens that no mortal sees:
And at times returning, lo, they flutter round us,
gathering mystic harvest,—
So I weave the legend of the long-lost bees.

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Chicago: Henry Van Dyke, "I Legend," The White Bees, ed. Keil, Heinrich, 1822-1894 and trans. Seaton, R. C. in The White Bees (New York: George E. Wood, 1850), Original Sources, accessed March 5, 2021, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=G6YZEE3G4ZDEI6U.

MLA: Dyke, Henry Van. "I Legend." The White Bees, edited by Keil, Heinrich, 1822-1894, and translated by Seaton, R. C., in The White Bees, New York, George E. Wood, 1850, Original Sources. 5 Mar. 2021. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=G6YZEE3G4ZDEI6U.

Harvard: Dyke, HV, 'I Legend' in The White Bees, ed. and trans. . cited in 1850, The White Bees, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 5 March 2021, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=G6YZEE3G4ZDEI6U.