The Lotus Eaters

Ulysses to Penelope

In a far distant land they dwell,
     Incomprehensible,
     Who love the shadow more than light,
     More than the sun the moon,
     Cool evening more than noon,
Pale silver more than gold that glitters bright,
     A dark cloud overhangs their land
          Like a mighty hand,
     Never moving from above it ;
     A cool shade and moist and dim,
     With a twilight purple rim,
          And they love it.
     And sometimes it giveth rain,
       But soon it ceaseth as before,
     And earth drieth up again,—
       Then the dews rise more and more,
       Till it filleth, dropping o’er ;
     But no forked lightnings flit,
     And no thunders roll in it.
     Through the land a river flows,
     With a sleepy sound it goes :
       Such a drowsy noise, in sooth,
          Those who will not listen hear not :
          But, if one is wakeful, fear not—
     It shall lull him to repose,
       Bringing back the dreams of youth.
     Hemlock groweth, poppy bloweth,
     In the fields where no man moweth :
     And the vine is full of wine
     And are full of milk the kine,
     And the hares are all secure,
     And the birds are wild no more,
     And the forest-trees wax old,
     And winds stir, or hot or cold,—
     And yet no man taketh care,
     All things resting everywhere.

Christina Georgina Rossetti
7 October 1847

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