Menu Close

XML     PDF

CORNELION AND AMETHYST.

There was once a shepherd youth called Cornelion. He was wont to
tend his flock and pipe all day upon an oaten reed in a field bedecked
with poppies and white daisies. His loins were clad in a rugged sheep
skin, and his bronzed limbs shone red-brown in the sunset. A wide
brimmed hat was on his bright red towzled hair, shading his features—
transparent in their beauty—and into leathern sandals were thrust his
naked feet.

    One day a maiden came among the poppies. She was very fair to
see, her eyes were like two violets in Spring, and Cornelion named her
Amethyst, because the garment girded round her body was deep in colour
like that precious stone.

    Now it came about that Cornelion took Amethyst in his arms, so that
his brown limbs mingled with her fair flesh, and her hair tumbled all about
his face like a bounteous aureole. Then did Cornelion kiss Amethyst,
because he loved her, just as the sun was setting like a golden orange in a
bowl of blue and all the daisies looked like stars in hell.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

    Amethyst hung her head in sorrow. The lustre had gone out of her
eyes, her hair was dead, and the depth had faded from her raiment.

    One day Cornelion came again.

    “I want my child,” he said.

    “No child of thine, false shepherd!”

    “Come, come, my Amethyst, forget the past.”

    “Then teach me to forget myself.”

    “I do repent me and am come to make amends. Let me have the
child and I will make a shepherd of him.”

    “Must I suffer more, then?”

    “For his sake—perhaps. How can you do for him so well as I do
purpose? You cannot teach him how to tend the ewes at lambing time.”

    Amethyst raised her tearful face, “I can if sorrow is the way.”

    “My perfect jewel, I too can sorrow teach.”

13

                              The Green Sheaf

    “Then let the child decide. Come here, my little Born-of-sorrow.
Wouldst rather go and be a shepherd with Cornelion or stay with me as
heretofore?”

    Born-of-sorrow looked up with anxious eyes from Amethyst to the
well-built brawny shepherd, then back again to all he knew of love.

    At last: “I want you both!”

    Then nymph and shepherd with a joyful throb took each a chubby
hand and played once more upon the oaten pipe.

                                                                        E. Harcourt Williams.

The image is centered below the text of the poem it illustrates, “Cornelion and Amethyst.” The image is outlined in a black, rectangular border, in portrait orientation. In the foreground of an idyllic hilly landscape are three pale-skinned figures: Cornelian, Amethyst, and the infant Born-of-Sorrow. Cornelian stands on the left, in full figure, and is naked except for skins that cover his loins and a broad-rimmed hat. He stands atop green grass scattered with red poppies, gaze fixed upward. At centre right, purple-robed Amethyst semi-reclines on a rock, her eyes closed, and her head tilted back. Her long golden hair streams down to her waist. Below her, the naked Born-of-Sorrow picks flowers. In the background, a river retreats into the horizon amid purple hills topped with green forests. White clouds swirl against a light blue sky. The artist’s monogram is in the bottom right corner of the frame.

MLA citation:

Williams, E. Harcourt. “Cornelion and Amethyst,” illustrated by Cecil French. The Green Sheaf, No. 3, 1903, pp. 13-14. Green Sheaf Digital Edition, edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Yellow Nineties 2.0, Toronto Metropolitan University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2022. https://1890s.ca/GSV3-williams-cornelion/