Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Italy
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII.  1876–79.
 
Sorrento
Ulysses and the Syren
Samuel Daniel (1562–1619)
 
SYREN
COME, worthy Greeke, Ulysses come,
  Possesse these shores with me,
The windes and seas are troublesome,
  And here we may be free.
Here may we sit and view their toyle,        5
  That travaile in the deepe,
Enjoy the day in mirth the while,
  And spend the night in sleepe.
 
ULYSSES
Faire nymph, if fame or honour were
  To be attain’d with ease,        10
Then would I come and rest with thee,
  And leave such toiles as these:
But here it dwels, and here must I
  With danger seek it forth;
To spend the time luxuriously        15
  Becomes not men of worth.
 
SYREN
Ulysses, O be not deceiv’d
  With that unreall name:
This honour is a thing conceiv’d,
  And rests on others’ fame.        20
Begotten only to molest
  Our peace, and to beguile
(The best thing of our life) our rest,
  And give us up to toyle!
 
ULYSSES
Delicious nymph, suppose there were
        25
  Nor honor, nor report,
Yet manlinesse would scorne to weare
  The time in idle sport:
For toyle doth give a better touch
  To make us feele our joy;        30
And ease findes tediousnes, as much
  As labour yeelds annoy.
 
SYREN
Then pleasure likewise seemes the shore,
  Whereto tendes all your toyle;
Which you forego to make it more,        35
  And perish oft the while.
Who may disport them diversly,
  Find never tedious day;
And ease may have variety,
  As well as action may.        40
 
ULYSSES
But natures of the noblest frame
  These toyles and dangers please;
And they take comfort in the same,
  As much as you in ease:
And with the thought of actions past        45
  Are recreated still:
When pleasure leaves a touch at last
  To shew that it was ill.
 
SYREN
That doth opinion only cause
  That ’s out of custom bred;        50
Which makes us many other laws
  Than ever nature did.
No widdowes waile for our delights,
  Our sports are without blood;
The world we see by warlike wights        55
  Receives more hurt than good.
 
ULYSSES
But yet the state of things require
  These motions of unrest,
And these great spirits of high desire
  Seem borne to turne them best:        60
To purge the mischiefes, that increase
  And all good order mar:
For oft we see a wicked peace
  To be well chang’d for war.
 
SYREN
Well, well, Ulysses, then I see
        65
  I shall not have thee here;
And therefore I will come to thee,
  And take my fortune there.
I must be wonne that cannot win,
  Yet lost were I not wonne:        70
For beauty hath created bin
  T’ undoo or be undone.
 
 
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