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Lo! in the middle of the wood,
The folded leaf is wooed from out the bud
With winds upon the branch, and there
Grows green and broad, and takes no care,
Sun-steeped at noon, and in the moon
Nightly dew-fed; and turning yellow,
Falls, and floats adown the air.
Lol sweetened with the summer light,
The full-juiced apple, waxing over-mellow,
Drops in a silent autumn night.
All its allotted length of days,
The flower ripens in its place,
Ripens and fades, and falls, and hath no toil,
Fast-rooted in the fruitful soil.
Hateful is the dark-blue sky,
Vaulted o'er the dark-blue sea.
Death is the end of life; ah! why
Should life all labor be P
Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast,
And in a little while our lips are dumb.
Let us alone. What is it that will last 2
All things are taken from us, and become
Portions and parcels of the dreadful Past.
Let us alone. What pleasure can we have
To war with evil? Is there any peace
In ever climbing up the climbing wave?
All things have rest and ripen toward the grave,
In silence ripen, fall, and cease:
Give us long rest or death, dark death or dreamful ease 1
How sweet it were, hearing the downward stream,
With half-shut eyes ever to seem
Falling asleep in a half dream l
To dream and dream, like yonder amber light,
Which will not leave the myrrh-bush on the height;
To hear each other's whispered speech;
Eating the Lotus, day by day,
To watch the crisping ripples on the beach,
And tender curving lines of creamy spray:
To lend our hearts and spirits wholly
To the influence of mild-minded melancholy;
To muse and brood and live again in memory,
With those old faces of our infancy
Heaped over with a mound of grass,
Two handfuls of white dust, shut in an urn of brass 1
Dear is the memory of our wedded lives,
And dear the last embraces of our wives,
And their warm tears; but all hath suffered change;
For surely now our household hearths are cold :
Our sons inherit us: our looks are strange:
And we should come like ghosts to trouble joy.
Or else the island princes, over-bold,
Have eat our substance, and the minstrel sings
Before them of the ten years' war in Troy,
And our great deeds as half-forgotten things.
Is there confusion in the little isle 2
Let what is broken so remain.
The gods are hard to reconcile:
'Tis hard to settle order once again.
There is confusion worse than death,
Trouble on trouble, pain on pain,
Long labor unto aged breath,
Sore task to hearts worn out with many wars,
And eyes grown dim with gazing on the pilot-stars.
But, propt on beds of amaranth and moly,
How sweet (while warm airs lull us, blowing lowly),
With half-dropt eyelids still,
Beneath a heaven dark and holy,
To watch the long bright river drawing slowly
His waters from the purple hill—
To hear the dewy echoes calling
From cave to cave through the thick-twined vine—
To hear the emerald-colored water falling
Through many a woven acanthus-wreath divine !
Only to hear and see the far-off sparkling brine,
Only to hear were sweet, stretched out beneath the pine.
The Lotus blooms below the barren peak: The Lotus blows by every winding creek: All day the wind breathes low with mellower tone: Through every hollow cave and alley lone Round and round the spicy downs the yellow Lotus-dus' is blown. We have had enough of action, and of motion we, Rolled to starboard, rolled to larboard, when the surg, was seething free, Where the wallowing monster spouted his foam-fountains in the sea. Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind. In the hollow Lotus-land to live and lie reclined On the hills like gods together, careless of mankind. For they lie beside their nectar, and the bolts are hurle 1 Far below them in the valleys, and the clouds are lightly curled Round their golden houses, girdled with the gleaming world; Where they smile in secret, looking over wasted lands, Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, roaring deeps and fiery sands, Clanging fights, and flaming towns, and sinking ships, and praying hands. But they smile, they find a music centered in a doleful song Steaming up, a lamentation and an ancient tale of wrong, Like a tale of little meaning, though the words are strong;
Chanted from an ill-used race of men that cleave the soil,
Sow the seed, and reap the harvest with enduring toil,
Storing yearly little dues of wheat, and wine, and oil;
Till they perish and they suffer—some, ’tis whispered—down
Suffer endless anguish, others in Elysian valleys dwell,
Resting weary limbs at last on beds of asphodel.
Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
Than labor in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar;
O rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more.
HIS was the ruler of the land
When Athens was the land of fame;
This was the light that led the band
When each was like a living flame;
The center of earth's noblest ring—
Of more than men the more than king.
Yet not by fetter, nor by spear,
His sovereignty was held or won :
Feared—but alone as freemen fear,
Loved—but as freemen love alone,
He waved the scepter o'er his kind
By nature's first great title—mind |
Resistless words were on his tongue—
Then eloquence first flashed below;
Full armed to life the portent sprung–
Minerva from the Thunderer's brow !
And his the sole, the sacred hand
That shook her aegis o'er the land.
SOWG OF THE GREEK POET. 49
And throned immortal by his side,
A woman sits with eye sublime,
Aspasia, all his spirit's bride;
But if their solemn love were crime,
Pity the beauty and the sage—
Their crime was in their darkened age.
He perished, but his wreath was won—
He perished in his height of fame;
Then sunk the cloud on Athens' sun,
Yet still she conquered in his name.
Filled with his soul, she could not die;
Her conquest was Posterity
HE isles of Greece, the isles of Greece |
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace—
Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung !
Eternal summer gilds them yet;
But all, except their sun, is set.
The Scian and the Teian muse,
The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
Have found the fame your shores refuse;
Their place of birth alone is mute
To sounds which echo farther west
Than your sires’ “Islands of the Blest.”
The mountains look on Marathon,
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dreamed that Greece might still be free;
For standing on the Persian's grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.