Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Oceanica
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Oceanica: Vol. XXXI.  1876–79.
 
Miscellaneous: Seas of the Tropics
The Lotos-Eaters
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)
 
(See full text.)

“COURAGE!” he said, and pointed toward the land,
“This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon.”
In the afternoon they came unto a land,
In which it seeméd 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 did seem.
 
A land of streams! some like a downward smoke,        10
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 mountain-tops,        15
Three silent pinnacles of aged snow,
Stood sunset-flushed: and, dewed with showery drops,
Up-clomb the shadowy pine above the woven copse.
 
The charméd sunset lingered low adown
In the red West: through mountain clefts the dale        20
Was seen far inland, and the yellow down
Bordered with palm, and many a winding vale
And meadow, set with slender galingale;
A land where all things always seemed the same!
And round about the keel with faces pale,        25
Dark faces pale against that rosy flame,
The mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters came.
 
Branches they bore of that enchanted stem,
Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave
To each, but whoso did receive of them,        30
And taste, to him the gushing of the wave
Far far away did seem to mourn and rave,
On alien shores; and if his fellow spake,
His voice was thin, as voices from the grave;
And deep-asleep he seemed yet all awake,        35
And music in his ears his beating heart did make.
They sat them down upon the yellow sand
Between the sun and moon upon the shore;
And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland,
Of child, and wife, and slave: but evermore        40
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.”
*        *        *        *        *
        45
The Lotos blooms below the barren peak:
The Lotos 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 Lotos-dust is blown.        50
We have had enough of action, and of motion we,
Rolled to starboard, rolled to larboard, when the surge was seething free,
Where the wallowing monster spouted his foam-fountains in the sea.
*        *        *        *        *
 
 
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