Poems by Muriel Stuart Part 7

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Poems by Muriel Stuart is a Webnovel created by Muriel Stuart.
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PERSEUS.

Long was she chained?

ANDROMEDA.

Since the world began.

PERSEUS.

Who are her masters?

ANDROMEDA.

The lords of pride and of l.u.s.t.

PERSEUS.

Whence comes she?

ANDROMEDA,

From dust.

PERSEUS.

Where goes she?

ANDROMEDA.

To dust!

CHORUS OF FIRST WOMEN.

Is he fooled by her hair, Is he tranced by her eyes, That he draweth him near, That he speaketh him wise? …

He has spoken again, He has taken her hands, He has loosened her chain, Unfettered she stands!

PERSEUS.

Stand there! Behold the new, uncharted day– Not as a fool made sweet for fools to kiss; Not as a saint to whom sick masters pray; No more the sad sh.e.l.l singing of men’s l.u.s.t; No more the sum of priests’ pale sophistries; But as men stand, unchallenged, equal, free, Each path to take and every race to run.

Stand forth, O shining equal in the sun!

Unfold, upspring, outblossom from the dust, O divinest playfellow even as we!

ANDROMEDA.

Where is he who chained me? I am weak.

I crouch still, whom the years forbade to stand.

The chain is still remembered on my neck, There are the marks of slaves still in this hand.

PERSEUS.

No more shall he who chained you forge that chain; He has looked upon Medusa, and has seen What he has made of woman. To him turned Is the last face (who shall never see again) With its hissing, furious hair, the eyelids burned With the eyes’ hate, slime where the lips have been, That tumbled death upon him like a stone; And in your name Medusa smiled and spurned A dying face more dreadful than her own.

ANDROMEDA.

The shackled feet of centuries cannot keep Pace yet with feet that have outstripped the world.

For the maimed even the riven way is steep.

I am so strange to greatness, I am hurled Unsceptred to my glory! I am now Almost what you have called me, as things take The colour of names men give them; as things grow Fierce if dubbed fierce, and weak if branded weak, And fools if given no name but foolishness.

I have been branded fool in life and art,– Always a little lower, always the less, Until the intolerable prompting has grown part Of all I do; my labouring brain and heart By that self-doubt are shadowed and undone.

Let me walk long beside you in the sun, Race, wrestle with you, grow wise and swift and strong.

For I shall speak but foolish words at first Who was hindered of wisdom since the world began.

I shall blunder and be so wayward who was nursed On fear and folly by the laws of man.

PERSEUS.

You shall not be less sweet that you are wise, And not less beautiful that you are strong.

ANDROMEDA.

I shall not see the scorn leap in your eyes?

Your wisdom will not do my weakness wrong?

PERSEUS.

To the freed soul of woman I make my vow!

Hand in hand we will walk in the sunrise now, No more implacable foes, but face to face, As masters of the world, and it shall be Under an equal law, with equal grace– A world where life is proud and sane and free.

ANDROMEDA.

Life must be borne. Together let us bear it!

There is no other answer to the vexed, Sad problem of the world.

PERSEUS.

Together, free of spirit, Of body free, one minded, equal s.e.xed.

ANDROMEDA.

I claim of man a thousand centuries!

Shall one poor decade serve to make me wise When men have knelt so long at wisdom’s knees?

PERSEUS.

Till the last day grows dim to the last eyes!

ANDROMEDA.

Let us go forth. Comrade and friend at last.

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