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Ionica Part 18

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A SONG TO A SINGER

Dura fida rubecula, Cur moraris in arbore Dum cadunt folia et brevi Flavet luce November.

Quid boni tibi destinat Hora crastina? quid petes Antris ex hiemalibus?

Quid speras oriturum?

Est ut hospita te vocet Myrtis, et reseret fores, Ut te vere nitentibus Emiretur ocellis.

Quod si contigerit tibi, Ter beata vocaberis, Invidenda volucribus, Invidenda poetae.

AGE AND GIRLHOOD

[Ill.u.s.tration: Greek Pa.s.sage-199]

A dry cicale chirps to a la.s.s making hay, "Why creak'st thou, t.i.thonus?" quoth she. "I don't play; It doubles my toil, your importunate lay; I've earned a sweet pillow, lo! Hesper is nigh; I clasp a good wisp, and in fragrance I lie; But thou art unwearied, and empty, and dry."

A LEGEND OF PORTO SANTO

A time-worn sage without a home, A man of dim and tearful sight, Up from the hallowed haven clomb In lowly longing for the height.

He loiters on a half-way rock To hear the waves that pant and seethe, Which give the beats of Nature's clock To mortals conscious that they breathe.

The buxom waves may nurse a boat, May well nigh seem to soothe and lull The crying of a tethered goat, The trouble of a searching gull.

There might be comfort in the tide, There might be Lethe in the surge, Could they but hint that oceans hide, That pangs absolve, bereavements purge.

The thinker, not despairing yet, Upraises limbs not wholly stiff, Half envying him that draws the net, Half proud to combat with the cliff.

He groans, but soon around his lips Tear-channels bend into a smile, He thinks "They're saying in the ships I'm looking for the hidden isle.

I climb but as my humours lead, My thoughts are mazed, my will is faint, Yon men who see me roam, they need No Lethe-fount, no shriving saint."

Good faith! can we believe, or feign Believing, that such lands exist Through ages drenched with blotting rain, For ever folded in the mist?

Maybe some babe by sirens clothed Swam thence, and brought report thereof.

Some hopeful virgin just betrothed Braved the incredulous pilot's scoff;

And murmuring to a friendly lute, While greybeards snored and beldames laughed, Some minstrel-corsair made pursuit Along the moon's white hunting-shaft;

Along the straight illumined track The bride, the singer, and the child Fled, far from sceptics, came not back, Engulped? Who knows? perhaps enisled.

Now were there such another crew, Now would their bark make room for me, Now were that island false or true, I'd go, forgetting, with the three.

TO A LINNET

My cheerful mate, you fret not for the wires, The changeless limits of your small desires; You heed not winter rime or summer dew, You feel no difference 'twixt old and new; You kindly take the lettuce or the cress Without the cognizance of more and less, Content with light and movement in a cage.

Not reckoning hours, nor mortified by age, You bear no penance, you resent no wrong, Your timeless soul exists in each unconscious song.

A SONG FOR A PARTING

I.

Flora will pa.s.s from firth to firth; Duty must draw, and vows must bind.

Flora will sail half round the earth, Yet will she leave some grace behind.

II.

Waft her, on Faith, from friend to friend, Make her a saint in some far isle; Yet will we keep, till memories end, Something that once was Flora's smile.

MIR IST LEIDE

Woe worth old Time the lord, Pointing his senseless sword Down on our festal board, Where we would dine, Chilling the kindly hall, Bidding the dainties pall, Making the garlands fall, Souring the wine.

LEBEWOHL--WORDS FOR A TUNE

I.

With these words, Good-bye, Adieu Take I leave to part from you, Leave to go beyond your view, Through the haze of that which is to be; Fare thou forth, and wing thy way, So our language makes me say.

Though it yield, the forward spirit needs must pray In the word that is hope's old token.

II.

Though the fountain cease to play, Dew must glitter near the brink, Though the weary mind decay, As of old it thought so must it think.

Leave alone the darkling eyes Fixed upon the moving skies, Cross the hands upon the bosom, there to rise To the throb of the faith not spoken.

REMEMBER

[Ill.u.s.tration: Greek Pa.s.sage-210]

You come not, as aforetime, to the headstone every day, And I, who died, I do not chide because, my friend, you play; Only, in playing, think of him who once was kind and dear, And, if you see a beauteous thing, just say, he is not here.

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Ionica Part 18 summary

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