The Return Of Ulysses

The Man of wisdom and endurance rare,
A sundry--coloured and strange--featured way,
Our hearts have followed; now the pleasant care
Is near its end,--the oars' sweet--echoed play,
Falls on the cliffs of Ithaca's deep bay;--
The enemy, on whose impetuous breast
The hero rode undaunted, night and day,
(Such was Minerva's power, and Jove's behest)
Scorns the inglorious strife and lays his wrath to rest.

And how returns the tempest--tossed? his prows
Gay--garlanded, with grand triumphal song?
Leaps he upon the strand, and proudly vows
Dire vengeance unto all who did him wrong?
Not so; for him, all force and passion strong,
And fretful tumult, for a while are o'er,--
He is borne gently, placidly, along,
And laid upon his own belov├Ęd shore.
Even as a wearied child, in quiet sleep once more!

There is no part of that archaic Lay,
That strikes with such resistless power on me,
As this pure artist--touch, this tender ray,
A perfect--simple light of poesy;
Not the nice wiles of chaste Penelope,--
Not the poor pining dog that died of joy,--
Not the grey smoke the wanderer yearned to see,
Whose wavings he had traced, a careless boy,
Sweet as they are, for me this preference can destroy.

Where the ``stone distaffs'' of the nymphs of old,
Still make rich tracery in the sacred Cave,--
Where peasants the dark--shadowed Fountain cold,
Hail by the name the Poet found or gave,
Where on the Eagle--height the walls out--brave
All time, and only the full--fruited vine
Trails o'er the home,--it may be o'er the grave,
Of Him for whom these memories combine,--
Rest, care--worn mortal! rest, and let his sleep be thine.

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