The ship's stride faltered with her change of course, awaking us.
Suddenly I saw the land. Astern, the east was red;
Budding like a flower from the pale and rippled vacancy,
All, then, was true; such lands, in solid verity,
Dapple the last sea that laps against the sky;
Apple-gold, the headlands of the singing Hesperides
Once before I'd seen it, but that was from Helicon,
Clear and distinct in the circle of a lens,
Peering on tip-toes, one-eyed, through a telescope
Now we were landing. Bright beasts and manifold
Came like old familiars, nosing at our knees;
Nameless their kinds--Adam's naming of the animals
Up from the shore then, benumbed with hope, we went upon
Danceable lawns and under gum-sweet wood,
Glancing ever up to where a green hill at the centre of
We climbed to the top and looked over upon limitless
Waters, untravelled, further west. But the three
Daughters of Hesperus were only painted images
And instead of the Dragon we found a brazen telescope
That burned our eyes there, flashing in the sun.
It was turned to the west. As once before on Helicon,
There, once again, I beheld it, small and perilous,
Distant beyond measure, in the circle of the lens
--But this time, surely, the true one, the Hesperides'
Hope died--rose again--quivered, and increased in us
The strenuous longing. We re-embarked to find
That genuine and utter West. Far astern and east of us
~C.S. Lewis, Poems (1964)
Wikipedia on The Hesperides.
Click here to view 'The Garden of the Hesperides' c 1892, by Frederic Leighton (1830-1896)
On this day:
1950 The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (the first volume written in The Chronicles of Narnia) is published by Geoffrey Bles, London.