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The Arctic Queen by Unknown

The Arctic Queen.

To

DR. ELISHA KENT KANE,

COMMANDER OF THE GRINNELL EXPEDITION

IN SEARCH OF SIR JOHN FRANKLIN--

THIS POEM IS DEDICATED:

WITH SINCEREST ADMIRATION OF HIS ENTERPRISE, COURAGE AND HEROIC SELF-DEVOTION,

AND OF HIS SUCCESS AS DISCOVERER

OF THE

OPEN POLAR SEA.

THE ARCTIC QUEEN.

PART FIRST.

OENE, of all the chilly Arctics, queen, Ascended to her everlasting throne Built on the steadfast centre of the world, And waited for the middle hour of night, Now swiftly coming, to convene her court. Set in an ocean of perpetual calm Was the fair island honoured by her reign; Slowly around her rolled the Frigid Zone, Dim in the mystic moonlight far away,-- A silvery ring, circling her nearer realm With the pale lustre of its snowy walls, Defending from all storm and sudden change The sea which bathed the island's level shores. She sat upon her throne, and none might tell Whether her limbs the lambent lustre cast Upon the pearls of which it was composed, Or they cast beauty on her glowing form. Around her feet a pavement spread, inlaid Of squares of roseate sea-shells, set about With purple gems, unknown in other lands;-- Thence, winding paths, sprinkled with golden sand, Ran out, through bowers of flowers and fields of green To meet the sea.

Low in the South the Moon Shone full against the island. The North-star, Sparkling and blazing like a silver sun, Stood at the Zenith, as a lamp hung out From heaven to charm the endless Arctic night;-- And thus a soft profusion of pure light, More exquisite than sunshine, fell abroad. Unnipped by daintiest frosts, in every field Flowers crowded thick; and trees, not tall nor rude, With slender stems upholding feathery shade, Nodded their heads and hung their pliant limbs In natural bowers, sweet with delicious gloom.

Queen OENE sent her luminous glance afar: Fine rays of tintless light played round her head, Crowning her beauty with mysterious glory. She gazed away, beyond the tranquil sea, To distant mountains of unchanging snow, And still beyond, to where full many a tower And fortress reared their walls of gleaming ice On the dim verges of her vast domains.

Scarcely had she in silence throned herself, Ere from the trees, or flower-coves of the shore, Or gliding in from idling on the sea, Her maids of honor came, a virgin train, Like a bright constellation clustering round The central star, most glorious of them all. One, in a crimson blossom, torn away From its far moorings, nestled at her ease, Was seen slowly to skim the silver lake; While the huge flower seemed of itself propelled, Save that, by chance, a flushed and saucy face, Peeped from the waves, showing a little imp Who tugged at its stout stem with willful toil. KOLONA's limbs and bosom roseate glowed As the slant moonlight through the crimson flower Bathed her with blushes; but, when on the strand She lightly sprang, flinging her tresses back, A southern maiden would have deemed her pale. Too rich for pallor was the polished glow Of her lithe figure; while, in either cheek, The red veins glimmered; dark blue were her eyes; Her tresses, like deep shadows, made more fair The light which they enhanced, glancing within.


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