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Chained to the years by the measureless wrong of man,
Here I hang, here I suffer, here I cry,
Since the light sprang forth from the dark, and the day began;
Since the sky was sundered and saved from the sea,
And the mouth of the beast was warm on the breast of the sod,
And the bird's feed glimmered like rings on the blossoming tree,
And the rivers ran silver with scales, and the earth was thronged
With creatures lovely and sane and wild and free;
Till the Image of God arose from the dust and trod
Woman and beast and bird into slavery.
Who has wronged me? Man who all earth has wronged:
Who has mocked me? Man, who made mock of God.
CHORUS OF FIRST WOMEN.
Nay, what do you seek?
If of men we be chained,
Our chains be of gold,
If the fetters we break
What conquest is gained?
Shall a hill-top out-spread a pavilion more safe than our palace hold?
Without toil, we are fed,
We have gold to our hire,
We have kings at out thrall,
And made smooth is our bed
For the fools of desire.
We falter the world with our eyelids, at our laughter men scatter and fall.
What is freedom but danger,
And death, and disaster?
We are safe: Fool, to crave
The unknown, the stranger!
More fettered the back than the burden; man bows; he is slave to a slave!
Yes, in most bitter waters have they drowned
My spirit, And my soul grows grey on sleep!
What if with wreaths my empty hands are bound?
I am slave for all their roses, and I keep
A tryst with cunning, and a troth with tears.
Time has kissed out my lips, and I am dumb.
I am so long called fool, I am become
That fool-of street or shrine. By body bears
Burden of men and children. I have been
All that man has desired or dreamed of me.
I have trodden a double-weary way-with Sin,
Or with Sin's pale, cold sister Chastity.
I am a thing of twilight. I am afraid.
Dull now and tame now; of myself so shamed.
Fortressed against redemption; visited
Of the old dream so seldom, as things tamed
forget the life that their wild brother leads.
I am a hurt beast flinching at the light.
I have been palaced from sun, and night
Runs in my blood, and all night's blushless deeds!
CHORUS OF SECOND WOMEN.
Oh world so blind, so dumb to our desiring,--
To the vague cry and clamour of our being!
Oh world so dark to our supreme aspiring,--
To the pitiful strange travail of our freeing!--
We weary not for love and lips to love us;
These have been ours too often and too long;
We have been hived too close; too sweet above us
Tastes the bees mouth to our honey-wearied tongue.
Not love, not love! Love was our first undoing,
We have lived too long on heart-beats. None can tame
The mind's new hunger, famished and pursuing,
Unleashed, and crying its oppressor's name.
All that the world could give man's mind inherits:
Two paths were set us. Baffled, weeping, yearning,
Tossed between God and man, rebellious spirits,
We wandered, now escaped and unreturning.
We are arming, waking, terribly unfolding,
The spent world shudders in a new creation,
A dread and pitiless flowering beholding,
Burst from the dark root of our long frustration!
Did God but build this temple for desire
That man defraud my birthright with a kiss?
Did he not give me a spirit to aspire
Beyond man's fortress and necessities?
Man chains the thing he fears, who fears the free;
No wildest beast was tamed as I was tamed,
No prey has been so tracked, no flesh so shamed;
Man hunts no quarry as he hunted me.
Of all the things created, one alone
Rose from the earth his equal; only the might
Of his brute strength could bid my soul renounce
Its claim-forswear its just, predestined right.
To what poor shape of folly am I grown,
In whom God breathed an equal spirit once!
CHORUS OF FIRST WOMEN.
Oh sheltering arms that have bound you,
Oh hearts you have shaped to your will!
The lordliest lovers have crowned you,
They have knelt as they kneel to you still.
Why speak you so ill of such lovers,
Why question the will of such lords?
From your lips, from your laughter, Love offers
The world on a litter off swords,
They have borne for you death and disasters,
They have held you with kingdoms at stake.
The kings of the earth and the masters
Were poets and fools for your sake!
Was I made free for all their swords and songs?
Do fairest songs sung to caged birds sound sweet?
Did their spears hold the door whenc
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"Andromeda Unfettered" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 29 Sep. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/28334/andromeda-unfettered>.