By Frederic Manning, 1909
Yea, she hath passed hereby, and blessed the sheaves,
And the great garths, and stacks, and quiet farms,
And all the tawny, and the crimson leaves.
Yea, she hath passed with poppies in her arms,
Under the star of dusk, through stealing mist,
And blessed the earth, and gone, while no man wist.
With slow, reluctant feet, and weary eyes,
And eye-lids heavy with the coming sleep,
With small breasts lifted up in stress of sighs,
She passed, as shadows pass, among the sheep;
While the earth dreamed, and only I was ware
Of that faint fragrance blown from her soft hair.
The land lay steeped in peace of silent dreams;
There was no sound amid the sacred boughs.
Nor any mournful music in her streams:
Only I saw the shadow on her brows,
Only I knew her for the yearly slain,
And wept, and weep until she come again.
The Bacchante figure is dressed in the spring colors of deep yellow and pale blue, has her hand outstretched, and clutches a fistful of flowers. Her youthful motion can thus be compared to the dynamic and earnest poem: Kore by Frederic Manning. Manning writes a tribute to Persephone and all maidens who relish the sun and its flowers, but in some way, whether by abduction, age, responsibility, or the unstoppable changing of the seasons, must forfeit their environment. Kore’s joy in springtime is undercut by the melancholy of its end, and yet her contentment burns as brightly as that of the bacchante figure captured in motion, running through the fields.
Image: After Claude Michel, called Clodion (1738–1814); Josiah Wedgwood & Sons, manufacturer. Figures of a bacchante (right), this example ca. 1862. Earthenware with majolica glazes, 16 1/2 × 8 × 14 1/2 in. (41.8 × 20.2 × 37 cm). Impressed marks: WEDGWOOD // T. The English Collection. Photo: Bruce White.