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10 NOVEMBER 2019

Ulysses: By Alfred Lord Tennyso

It little profits that an idle king,

 

By this still hearth, among these barren crags,

 

Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole

 

Unequal laws unto a savage race,

 

That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

 

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink

 

Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd

 

Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those

 

That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when

 

Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades

 

Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;

 

For always roaming with a hungry heart

 

Much have I seen and known; cities of men

 

And manners, climates, councils, governments,

 

Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;

 

And drunk delight of battle with my peers,

 

Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

 

I am a part of all that I have met;

 

Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'

 

Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades

 

For ever and forever when I move.

 

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,

 

To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!

 

As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life

 

Were all too little, and of one to me

 

Little remains: but every hour is saved

 

From that eternal silence, something more,

 

A bringer of new things; and vile it were

 

For some three suns to store and hoard myself,

 

And this gray spirit yearning in desire

 

To follow knowledge like a sinking star,

 

Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

 

 

 

         This is my son, mine own Telemachus,

 

To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—

 

Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil

 

This labour, by slow prudence to make mild

 

A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees

 

Subdue them to the useful and the good.

 

Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere

 

Of common duties, decent not to fail

 

In offices of tenderness, and pay

 

Meet adoration to my household gods,

 

When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

 

 

 

         There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:

 

There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,

 

Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me—

 

That ever with a frolic welcome took

 

The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed

 

Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;

 

Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;

 

Death closes all: but something ere the end,

 

Some work of noble note, may yet be done,

 

Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

 

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:

 

The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep

 

Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,

 

'T is not too late to seek a newer world.

 

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

 

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

 

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

 

Of all the western stars, until I die.

 

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:

 

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

 

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

 

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'

 

We are not now that strength which in old days

 

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;

 

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

 

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

 

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

 

 

 

Source: poetryfoundation.org, sothebys.com