Into a deeper wood, wanting more light,
Actaeon trod the rille, stopped, listened,
stood the hour watching two stags
'til only eyes he saw that glistened,
all else shadow in the darkening wood:
unslung his bow, nocked arrow, trued his aim,
besought the virgin goddess, if she would,
eftsoons allow him take
this regal game.
But arrows trace their courses unforseen.
His, by the goddess' bower, found fate's mark:
all unbeknownst he broached the forest queen,
feckful, heedless, eyne piercing
through the dark.
Where naked Artemis bathed by moonlight,
and streams descend to splay in finest mist,
silver water glistered down breasts so white
no mortal e're hath looked upon nor
His gaze met hers that burned with moonlit fire,
sought him words but none could find or form:
so wanting speech he fled the goddess' ire
on fleeter feet than ever he was
Came then the cry of hounds upon the wind
and terror took him like a stag at bay:
His hounds would run the chase out to its end
and he who once was hunter now was prey.