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.
 
1596. The Flute
 
By Joseph Russell Taylor
 
 
  PUFFED up with luring to her knees
  The rabbits from the blackberries,
  Quaint little satyrs, and shy and mute,
  That limped reluctant to the flute,
  She needs must seek the forest’s womb        5
  And pipe up tigers from green gloom.
 
Grouped round the dreaming oaten quill
Those sumptuous savages were still,
Rich spectral beasts that feared to stir,
And haughty and wistful gazed on her,        10
And swayed their sleepy masks in time
And growled a drowsy under-rhyme.
 
Tune done, that agile fancy stopped,
The lingering notes in mid-air dropped;
The flute stole from her parted kiss,        15
Her cheeks for sorcery burned with bliss.
Then grew a deadly muttering there;
And sudden yellow eyes aglare
Blazed furious over wrinkled lips
And teeth on her. Her finger-tips        20
Trembled a little as they woke
The second tune beneath the oak,
A lilt that charmed and lulled to mute
The uneasy soul within the brute.
 
And all that warbling ecstasy        25
Was winged with terror, and daintily
Ceased on the wild and tragic face
And desperate huddle of her grace:
For with the hush began to gride
Their sullen, soulless, evil-eyed,        30
Intolerable rage, blown hot
Upon her. The third tune was caught
With trouble from unuttered air:
And still as autumn they sat there.
 
The breathless seventh tune died out        35
Like withered laughter: all about
The frantic silence ran a race.
She stirred, she moaned, she crawled a space.
There leaped a vast and thunderous roar;
A huge heart-shaking tumult tore        40
About the oak. Filing away,
They trod the stained flute where it lay.
 

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