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THE LOTOS-EATERS

(1832, 1842) "Courage!” he said, and pointed toward

the land, “This mounting wave will roll us shore

ward soon." In the afternoon they came unto a land In which it seemèd always afternoon. All round the coast the languid air did swoon,

5 Breathing like one that hath a weary

dream. Full-faced above the valley stood the

moon; And, like a downward smoke, the slender

stream Along the cliff to fall, and pause, and fall,

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did seem.

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A land of streams! Some, like a down

ward smoke, Slow-dropping veils of thinnest lawn, did

go; And some through wavering lights and

shadows broke, Rolling a slumbrous sheet of foam below. They saw the gleaming river seaward flow From the inner land; far off, three moun

tain-tops, Three silent pinnacles of aged snow, Stood sunset-flushed; and, dewed with

showery drops, Up-clomb the shadowy pine above the

woven copse.

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Most weary seemed the sea, weary the

oar, Weary the wandering fields of barren

foam. Then some one said, “We will return no

more;" And all at once they sang, “Our island

home Is far beyond the wave: we will no longer roam.”

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CHORIC SONG

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on the

toil,

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IV

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II

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Falls, and floats adown the air.

Lo! sweetened with the summer light,
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The full-juiced apple, waxing over-mellow, There is sweet music here that softer Drops in a silent autumn night. falls

All its allotted length of days Than petals from blown roses

The flower ripens in its place, grass;

Ripens and fades, and falls, and hath no Or night-dews on still waters between walls

Fast-rooted in the fruitful soil.
Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass:
Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,
Than tired eyelids upon tired eyes;

Hateful is the dark-blue sky,
Music that brings sweet sleep down from

Vaulted o'er the dark-blue sea. the blissful skies.

Death is the end of life: ah, why Here are cool mosses deep,

Should life all labor be? And through the moss the ivies creep,

Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast, And in the stream the long-leaved flowers

And in a little while our lips are dumb. weep,

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Let us alone. What is it that will last? 90 And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs

All things are taken from us, and become in sleep.

Portions and parcels of the dreadful past.

Let us alone. What pleasure can we have Why are we weighed upon with heaviness, To war with evil? Is there any peace And utterly consumed with sharp distress, In ever climbing up the climbing wave? While all things else have

rest from

All things have rest, and ripen toward the weariness?

grave All things have rest: why should we toil In silence; ripen, fall, and cease: alone,

Give us long rest or death, dark death, We only toil, who the first of or dreamful ease.

things, And make perpetual moan, Still from one sorrow to another thrown;

How sweet it were, hearing the downward Nor ever fold our wings,

stream, And cease from wanderings,

With half-shut eyes ever to seem Nor steep our brows in slumber's holy

Falling asleep in a half-dream! balm;

To dream and dream, like yonder amber Nor harken what the inner spirit sings,

light, “There is no joy but calm!".

Which will not leave the myrrh-bush on Why should we only toil, the roof and

the height; crown of things?

To hear each other's whispered speech;
Eating the lotos day by day,

To watch the crisping ripples on the Lo! in the middle of the wood,

beach, The folded leaf is wooed from out the bud And tender curving lines of creamy spray; With winds upon the branch, and there To lend our hearts and spirits wholly Grows green and broad, and takes no To the influence of mild-minded melancare,

choly; Sun-steeped at noon, and in the moon To muse and brood and live again in memNightly dew-fed; and turning yellow 75

ory,

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cold,

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motion we,

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With those old faces of our infancy Through many a woven acanthus-wreath Heaped over with a mound of grass,

divine ! Two handfuls of white dust, shut in an urn Only to hear and see the far-off sparkling of brass !

brine Only to hear were sweet, stretched out

beneath the pine. Dear is the memory of our wedded lives, And dear the last embraces of

wives And their warm tears. But all hath suf The lotos blooms below the barren fered change;

peak;

145 For surely now our household hearths are The lotos blows by every winding creek;

All day the wind breathes low with melOur

looks

lower tone: strange,

Through every hollow cave and alley lone, And we should come like ghosts to trouble Round and round the spicy downs, the joy.

yellow lotos-dust is blown, Or else the island princes, overbold, We have had enough of action, and of Have eat our substance; and the minstrel sings

Rolled to starboard, rolled to larboard, Before them of the ten years' war in Troy, when the surge was seething free, And our great deeds, as half-forgotten Where the wallowing monster spouted his things.

foam-fountains in the sea. Is there confusion in the little isle?

Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an Let what is broken so remain.

equal mind, The gods are hard to reconcile ;

In the hollow Lotos-land to live, and lie 'Tis hard to settle order once again.

reclined There is confusion worse than death, On the hills like gods together, careless of Trouble on trouble, pain on pain,

mankind. Long labor unto aged breath,

For they lie beside their nectar, and the Sore task to hearts worn out by many bolts are hurled wars,

Far below them in the valleys, and the And eyes grown dim with gazing on the clouds are lightly curled pilot-stars.

Round their golden houses, girdled with

the gleaming world;

Where they smile in secret, looking over But, propt on beds of amaranth and moly, wasted lands, How sweet, — while warm airs lull us, Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, blowing lowly,

roaring deeps and fiery sands, With half-dropt eyelid still,

Clanging fights, and Aaming towns, and Beneath a heaven dark and holy,

sinking ships, and praying hands. To watch the long, bright river drawing But they smile: they find a music centred slowly

in a doleful song His waters, from the purple hill;

Steaming up, a lamentation and an ancient To hear the dewy echoes calling

tale of wrong, cave through the thick Like a tale of little meaning though the twinèd vine;

words are strong; To watch the emerald-colored water fall Chanted from an ill-used race of men that ing

cleave the soil,

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VII

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From cave

to

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upper cliff.

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am

Sow the seed, and reap the harvest with She, leaning on a fragment twined with enduring toil,

vine, Storing yearly little dues of wheat, and Sang to the stillness till the mountainwine, and oil;

shade Till they perish and they suffer

some, Sloped downward to her seat from the 'tis whispered, down in hell Suffer endless anguish, - others in Elysian valleys dwell,

“O mother Ida, many fountained Ida, Resting weary limbs at last on beds of Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die. asphodel.

For now the noonday quiet holds the hill: Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than

The grasshopper is silent in the grass; 25 toil, — the shore

The lizard, with his shadow on the stone, Than labor in the deep mid-ocean, wind Rests like a shadow; and the winds are and wave and oar:

dead. O, rest ye, brother mariners, we will not

The purple flower droops; the golden bee wander more.

Is lily-cradled: I alone awake.
My eyes are full of tears, my heart of

love,

My heart is breaking and my eyes are ENONE

dim, (1832, 1842)

And I all

weary

of
my

life.
There lies a vale in Ida, lovelier
Than all the valleys of Ionian hills.

“O mother Ida, many-fountained Ida,

Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die. The swimming vapor slopes athwart the

Hear me, O earth; hear me, 0 hills, O glen, Puts forth an arm, and creeps from pine

That house the cold-crowned snake! 0 to pine,

mountain-brooks, And loiters, slowly drawn. On either

I am the daughter of a river-god: hand The lawns and meadow-ledges midway

Hear me, for I will speak, and build up all

My sorrow with my song, as yonder walls down

Rose slowly to a music slowly breathed, 40 Hang rich in flowers; and far below them

A cloud that gathered shape; for it may be

That, while I speak of it, a little while The long brook falling through the cloven

My heart may wander from its deeper ravine In cataract after cataract to the sea. Behind the valley topmost Gargarus

“O mother Ida, many-fountained Ida, Stands up and takes the morning; but in Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die. front.

I waited underneath the dawning hills: The gorges, opening wide apart, reveal Aloft, the mountain-lawn was dewy-dark. Troas, and Ilion's columned citadel, And dewy-dark aloft the mountain-pine. The crown of Troas.

Beautiful Paris, evil-hearted Paris, Hither came at noon Leading a jet-black goat white-horned, Mournful CEnone, wandering forlorn

white-hooved, Of Paris, once her playmate on the hills. Came up from reedy Simoïs all alone. Her cheek had lost the rose, and round her neck

“O mother Ida, harken ere I die. Floated her hair, or seemed to float in Far off, the torrent called me from the rest.

cleft;

caves

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roars

woe.

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Far up, the solitary morning smote The streaks of virgin snow. With downdropt eyes

55 I sat alone: White-breasted like a star Fronting the dawn, he moved; a leopard

skin Drooped from his shoulder, but his sunny

hair Clustered about his temples like a god's; And his cheek brightened as the foam-bow

brightens When the wind blows the foam: and all

Behind yon whispering tuft of oldest pine, Mayst well behold them unbeheld; un

heard, Hear all; and see thy Paris judge of gods."

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90

my heart

Went forth to embrace him coming ere he

came.

came

to

"Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die. He smiled; and opening out his milk-white

"Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die. It was the deep midnoon; one silvery

cloud Had lost his way between the piny sides Of this long glen. Then to the bower they

came, Naked they

that smoothswarded bower: And at their feet the crocus brake like fire, Violet, amaracus, and asphodel,

95 Lotos, and lilies; and a wind arose, And overhead the wandering ivy and vine, This way and that, in many a wild festoon Ran riot, garlanding the gnarlèd boughs With bunch and berry and Aower through

and through.

palm,

a

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Disclosed fruit of pure Hesperian

gold, That smelt ambrosially; and while I

looked And listened, the full-flowing river of

speech Came down upon my heart:

‘My own (Enone, Beautiful-browed Enone, my own soul, Behold this fruit, whose gleaming rind

ingraven “For the most fair” would seem to award

it thine, As lovelier than whatever oread haunt The knolls of Ida, loveliest in all grace Of movement, and the charm of married

brows.'

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"O mother Ida, harken ere I die. On the tree-tops a crested peacock lit, And o'er him fowed a golden cloud, and

leaned Upon him, slowly dropping fragrant dew. Then first I heard the voice of her to

whom Coming through heaven, like a light that

grows Larger and clearer, with one mind the

gods Rise up for reverence. She to Paris made Proffer of royal power, ample rule Unquestioned, — overflowing revenue Wherewith to embellish state, 'from many

a vale, And river-sundered champaign clothed

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“Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die. He pressed the blossom of his lips to mine, And added:

"This was

cast upon the board, When all the full-faced presence of the

gods Ranged in the halls of Peleus; whereupon Rose feud, with question unto whom

'twere due. But light-foot Iris brought it yester-eve, Delivering, that to me, by common voice Elected umpire, Here comes today,

with corn,

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Or labored mine undrainable of ore. Honor,' she said, “and homage, tax and

toll, From many an inland town, and haven

large,

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