Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
Extracts from The Life and Death of Jason: The Song of the Hesperides
By William Morris (1834–1896)
 
  O YE, who to this place have strayed,
That never for man’s eyes was made,
Depart in haste, as ye have come,
And bear back to your sea-beat home
This memory of the age of gold,        5
And for your eyes, grown over-bold,
Your hearts shall pay in sorrowing,
For want of many a half-seen thing.
 
  Lo, such as is this garden green,
In days past, all the world has been,        10
And what we know all people knew,
Save this, that unto worse all grew.
  But since the golden age is gone,
This little place is left alone,
Unchanged, unchanging, watched of us,        15
The daughters of wise Hesperus.
  Surely the heavenly Messenger
Full oft is fain to enter here,
And yet without must he abide;
Nor longeth less the dark king’s bride        20
To set red lips unto that fruit
That erst made nought her mother’s suit.
Here would Diana rest awhile,
Forgetful of her woodland guile,
Among these beasts that fear her nought.        25
Nor is it less in Pallas’ thought,
Beneath our trees to ponder o’er
The wide, unfathomed sea of lore;
And oft-kissed Citheræa, no less
Weary of love, full fain would press        30
These flowers with unsandalled feet.
 
  But unto us our rest is sweet,
Neither shall any man or God
Or lovely Goddess touch the sod
Whereunder old times buried lie,        35
Before the world knew misery.
Nor will we have a slave or king,
Nor yet will we learn anything
But that we know, that makes us glad;
While oft the very Gods are sad        40
With knowing what the Fates shall do.
  Neither from us shall wisdom go
To fill the hungering hearts of men,
Lest to them threescore years and ten
Come but to seem a little day,        45
Once given, and taken soon away.
Nay, rather let them find their life
Bitter and sweet, fulfilled of strife,
Restless with hope, vain with regret,
Trembling with fear, most strangely set        50
’Twixt memory and forgetfulness;
So more shall joy be, troubles less,
And surely when all this is past,
They shall not want their rest at last.
  Let earth and heaven go on their way,        55
While still we watch from day to day,
In this green place left all alone,
A remnant of the days long gone.
 
 
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