Ye Who Have Toiled

Ye who have toil'd uphill to reach the haunt
Of other men who lived in other days,
Whether the ruins of a citadel
Rais'd on the summit by Pelasgic hands,
Or chamber of the distaff and the song . . .
Ye will not tell what treasure there ye found,
But I will.
Ye found there the viper laid
Full-length, flat-headed, on a sunny slab,
Nor loth to hiss at ye while crawling down.
Ye saw the owl flap the loose ivy leaves
And, hooting, shake the berries on your heads.
Now, was it worth your while to mount so high
Merely to say ye did it, and to ask
If those about ye ever did the like?
Believe me, O my friends, 'twere better far
To stretch your limbs along the level sand
As they do, where small children scoop the drift,
Thinking it must be gold, where curlews soar
And scales drop glistening from the prey above.
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