Page images
PDF
EPUB

stream

more

Branches they bore of that enchanted THE LOTOS-EATERS.

stem,

Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they 'COURAGE !' he said, and pointed toward

gave the land,

To each, but whoso did receive of them, * This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon.'

And taste, to him the gushing of the wave In the afternoon they came unto a land

Far far away did seem to mourn and rave

On alien shores; and if his fellow spake, In which it seemed always afternoon.

His voice was thin, as voices from the All round the coast the languid air did

grave; swoon, Breathing like one that hath a weary And music in his ears his beating heart

And deep-asleep he seem'd, yet all awake, dream.

did make. Full-faced above the valley stood the moon ;

They sat them down upon the yellow And like a downward smoke, the slender

sand,

Between the sun and moon upon the Along the cliff to fall and pause and fall

shore; did seem.

And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland,

Of child, and wife, and slave ; but everA land of streams ! some, like a downward smoke,

Most weary seem'd the sea, weary the Slow-dropping veils of thinnest lawn, did

oar, go;

Weary the wandering fields of barren And some thro' wavering lights and

foam. shadows broke,

Then some one said, “We will return no Rolling a slumbrous sheet of foam below.

more ;' They saw the gleaming river seaward And all at once they sang, ‘Our island flow

home From the inner land : far off, three Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer mountain-tops,

roam.' Three silent pinnacles of aged snow, Stood sunset - flush'd : and, dew'd with

CHORIC SONG. showery drops, Up-clomb the shadowy pine above the

1. woven copse.

There is sweet music here that softer falls The charmed sunset linger'd low adown Than petals from blown roses on the grass, In the red West : thro' mountain clefts Or night-dews on still waters between the dale

walls Was seen far inland, and the yellow down Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass; Border'd with palm, and many a winding Music that gentlier on the spirit lies, vale

Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes ; And meadow, set with slender galingale; | Music that brings sweet sleep down from A land where all things always seem'd

the blissful skies. the same !

Here are cool mosses deep, And round about the keel with faces And thro' the moss the ivies creep, pale,

And in the stream the long-leaved flowers Dark faces pale against that rosy flame,

weep, The mild - eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters And from the craggy ledge the poppy

hangs in sleep.

came.

II.

the grave

V.

+

III.

In ever climbing up the climbing wave? X

All things have rest, and ripen toward
Why are we weigh'd upon with heaviness,
And utterly consumed with sharp distress, In silence ; ripen, fall and cease :
While all things else have rest from Give us long rest or death, dark death,
weariness?

or dreamful ease. All things have rest : why should we toil

alone, We only toil, who are the first of things, How sweet it were, hearing the down(And make perpetual moan,'

ward stream, Still from one sorrow to another thrown; | With half-shut eyes ever to seem Nor ever fold our wings,

Falling asleep in a half-dream! And cease from wanderings,

To dream and dream, like yonder amber Nor steep our brows in slumber's holy

light, balm ;

Which will not leave the myrrh-bush on Nor harken what the inner spirit sings,

the height; • There is no joy but calm !'

To hear each other's whisper'd speech ; Why should we only toil, the roof and Eating the Lotos day by day, crown of things ? para

To watch the crisping ripples on the

beach,

And tender curving lines of creamy spray;
Lo! in the middle of the wood,

To lend our hearts and spirits wholly
The folded leaf is woo'd from out the bud To the influence of mild-minded melan-
With winds upon the branch, and there choly;
Grows green and broad, and takes no care, To muse and brood and live again in
Sun-steep'd at noon, and in the moon

memory,
Nightly dew-fed ; and turning yellow With those old faces of our infancy
Falls, and floats adown the air.

Heap'd over with a mound of grass,
Lo! sweeten'd with the summer light, Two handfuls of white dust, shut in an
The full-juiced apple, waxing over-mellow,

urn of brass !

1 Drops in a silent autumn night. All its allotted length of days,

vi. The flower ripens in its place,

Dear is the memory of our wedded lives, Ripens and fades, and falls, and hath no And dear the last embraces of our wives toil,

And their warm tears : but all hath
Fast-rooted in the fruitful soil.

suffer'd change :
For surely now our household hearths are

cold : Hateful is the dark-blue sky,

Our sons inheritus : our looks are Vaulted o'er the dark-blue sea.

strange :
Death is the end of life ; ah, why And we should come like ghosts to trouble
Should life all labour be?

joy.
Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast, Or else the island princes over-bold
And in a little while our lips are dumb. Have eat our substance, and the minstrel
Let us alone. What is it that will last ? sings
All things are taken from us, and become Before them of the ten years' war in Troy,
Portions and parcels of the dreadful Past. And our great deeds, as half-forgotten
Let us alone. What pleasure can we things.
have

Is there confusion in the little isle?
To war with evil? Is there any peace Let what is broken so remain.

1

IV.

The Gods are hard to reconcile :

For they lie beside their nectar, and the X'Tis hard to settle order once again.

bolts are hurl'd There is confusion worse than death, Far below them in the valleys, and the Trouble on trouble, pain on pain,

clouds are lightly curl'd Long labour unto aged breath,

Round their golden houses, girdled with Sore task to hearts worn out by many wars the gleaming world : And eyes grown dim with gazing on the Where they smile in secret, looking over pilot-stars.

wasted lands, VII.

Blight and famine, plague and earthquake,

roaring deeps and fiery sands, But, propt on beds of amaranth and moly, Clanging fights, and faming towns, and How sweet (while warm airs lull us,

sinking ships, and praying hands. blowing lowly)

But they smile, they find a music centred With half-dropt eyelid still,

in a doleful song Beneath a heaven dark and holy,

Steaming up, a lamentation and an ancient To watch the long bright river drawing

tale of wrong, slowly

Like a tale of little meaning tho' the His waters from the purple hill

words are strong ; To hear the dewy echoes calling

Chanted from an ill- used race of men From cave to cave thro' the thick-twined

that cleave the soil, vine

Sow the seed, and reap the harvest with To watch the emerald-colour'd water

enduring toil, falling

Storing yearly little dues of wheat, and Thro' many a wov'n acanthus - wreath

wine and oil ; divine !

Till they perish and they suffer-some, Only to hear and see the far-off sparkling

'tis whisper'd-down in hell brine,

Suffer endless anguish, others in Elysian Only to hear were sweet, stretch'd out

valleys dwell, beneath the pine.

Resting weary limbs at last on beds of

asphodel.

Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet The Lotos blooms below the barren peak: than toil, the shore The Lotos blows by every winding creek:

Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind All day the wind breathes low with

and wave and oar ; mellower tone :

Oh rest ye, brother mariners, we will Thro' every hollow cave and alley lone

not wander more. Round and round the spicy downs the yellow Lotos-dust is blown.

A DREAM OF FAIR WOMEN. We have had enough of action, and of motion we,

I read, before my eyelids dropt their shade, Rolld to starboard, rolld to larboard,

The Legend of Good Women,' long ago when the surge was seething free, Sung by the morning star of song, who Where the wallowing monster spouted

made his foam-fountains in the sea.

His music heard below; Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind,

Dan Chaucer, the first warbler, whose In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie

sweet breath reclined

Preluded those melodious bursts that fill On the hills like Gods together, careless The spacious times of great Elizabeth of mankind.

With sounds that echo still.

VIII.

art

every land

did creep

And, for a while, the knowledge of his So shape chased shape as swift as, when

to land Held me above the subject, as strong Bluster the winds and tides the self-same gales

way, Hold swollen clouds from raining, tho' Crisp foam-flakes scud along the level my heart,

sand, Brimful of those wild tales,

Torn from the fringe of spray. Charged both mine eyes with tears. In I started once, or seem'd to start in pain,

Resolved on noble things, and strove I saw, wherever light illumineth,

to speak, Beauty and anguish walking hand in hand | As when a great thought strikes along The downward slope to death.

the brain,

And flushes all the cheek. Those far- renowned brides of ancient And once my arm was lifted to hew down song

A cavalier from off his saddle-bow, Peopled the hollow dark, like burning That bore a lady from a leaguer'd town; stars,

And then, I know not how, And I heard sounds of insult, shame, and wrong,

All those sharp fancies, by down-lapsing And trumpets blown for wars ;

thought

Stream'd onward, lost their edges, and And clattering flints batter'd with clanging hoofs;

Rollid on each other, rounded, smooth'd, And I saw crowds in column'd sanctu

and brought aries;

Into the gulfs of sleep. And forms that pass'd at windows and on roofs

At last methought that I had wander'd far Of marble palaces ;

In an old wood : fresh-wash'd in coolest

dew Corpses across the threshold ; heroes tall Themaiden splendours of the morningstar Dislodging pinnacle and parapet

Shook in the stedfast blue. Upon the tortoise creeping to the wall ;

Enormous elm-tree-boles did stoop and Lances in ambush set ;

lean

Upon the dusky brushwood underneath And high shrine-doors burst thro' with

Their broad curved branches, fledged with heated blasts

clearest green, That run before the fluttering tongues

New from its silken sheath. of fire ; White surf wind-scatter'd over sails and The dim red morn had died, her journey masts,

done, And ever climbing higher ;

And with dead lips smiled at the twi.

light plain, Squadrons and squares of men in brazen Half-fall’n across the threshold of the sun, plates,

Never to rise again. Scaffolds, still sheets of water, divers woes,

There was no motion in the dumb dead air, Ranges of glimmering vaults with iron Not any song of bird or sound of ril! ; grates,

Gross darkness of the inner sepulchre And hush'd seraglios.

Is not so deadly still

a curse :

ish eyes,

As that wide forest. Growths of jasmine But she, with sick and scornful looks averse, turn'd

To her full height her stately stature Their humid arms festooning tree to

draws; tree,

My youth,' she said, 'was blasted with And at the root thro' lush green grasses burn'd

This woman was the cause. The red anemone.

'I was cut off from hope in that sad place, I knew the flowers, I knew the leaves, I

Which men call'd Aulis in those iron knew

years : The tearful glimmer of the languid dawn My father held his hand upon his face ; On those long, rank, dark wood-walks 1, blinded with my tears, drench'd in dew,

Still strove to speak : my voice was Leading from lawn to lawn.

thick with sighs The smell of violets, hidden in the green,

As in a dream. Dimly I could descry Pour'd back into my empty soul and | The stern black-bearded kings with wolf

frame The times when I remember to have been

Waiting to see me die. Joyful and free from blame.

The high masts flicker'd as they lay afloat; And from within me a clear under-tone

The crowds, the temples, waver'd, and

the shore ; Thrill'd thro' mine ears in that unbliss. The bright death quiver'd at the victim's ful clime,

throat ; * Pass freely thro': the wood is all thine

Touch'd ; and I knew no more.' own, Until the end of time.'

Whereto the other with a downward brow:

I would the white cold heavy-plung: At length I saw a lady within call,

ing foam, Stiller than chisell’d marble, standing Whirld by the wind, had rollid me deep there;

below, A daughter of the gods, divinely tall, Then when I left my home.' And most divinely fair.

Her slow full words sank thro' the silence Her loveliness with shame and with sur. drear, prise

As thunder-drops fall on a sleeping sea : Froze my swift speech : she turning on Sudden I heard a voice that cried, “Come

here, The star-like sorrows of immortal eyes, That I may look on thee.' Spoke slowly in her place.

I turning saw, throned on a flowery rise, • I had great beauty : ask thou not my One sitting on a crimson scarf unroll’d;

A queen, with swarthy cheeks and bold No one can be more wise than destiny. Nany drew swords and died. Where'er Brow-bound with burning gold. I brought calamity.'

She, flashing forth a haughty smile, began

"I govern'd men by change, and so I No marvel, sovereign lady: in fair field sway'd

Myself for such a face had boldly died,'| All moods. 'Tis long since I have seen I answer'd free; and turning I appeal'd To one that stood beside.

Once, like the moon, I made

my face

name:

black eyes,

I came

a man.

« PreviousContinue »