LAND OF PALLAS
I journeyed along ways that led for ever
Throughout a happy land where
strife and care were dead,
And life went by me flowing like a placid river
Past sandy eyots where the shifting
shoals make head.
A land where
beauty dwelt supreme, and right, the donor
Of peaceful days; a land of
equal gifts and deeds,
Of limitless fair fields and plenty had with honour;
A land of kindly tillage and
and great fields, and dreaming rose-wreathed alleys,
Wherein at dawn and dusk the
vesper sparrows sang;
Of cities set far off on hills down vista’d valleys,
And floods so vast and old,
men wist not whence they sprang,
and forest depths, and fountains softly welling,
And roads that ran soft-shadowed
past the open doors
Of mighty palaces and many a lofty dwelling,
Where all men entered and no
master trod their floors.
A land of
lovely speech, where every tone was fashioned
By generations of emotion high
Of thought and deed and bearing lofty and impassioned;
A land of golden calm, grave
forms, and fretless feet.
mode and saying of that land gave token
Of limits where no death or
evil fortune fell,
And men lived out long lives in proud content unbroken,
For there no man was rich, none
poor, but all were well.
And all the
earth was common, and no baste contriving
Of money of coined gold was
needed there or known,
But all men wrought together without greed or striving,
And all the store of all to
each man was his own.
that busy land, grey town, and peaceful village,
Where never jar was heard, nor
wail, nor cry of strife,
From every laden stream and all the fields of tillage,
Arose the murmur and the kindly
hum of life.
to the fields came forth the men, each neighbour
Hand linked to other, crowned,
with wreaths upon their hair,
And all day long with joy they gave their hands to labour,
Moving at will, unhastened,
each man to his share.
At noon the
women came, the tall fair women, bearing
Baskets of wicker in their ample
hands for each,
And learned the day’s brief tale, and how the fields
And blessed them with their
lofty beauty and blithe speech.
the great day’s toil was over, and the shadows
Grew with the flocking stars,
the sound of festival
Rose in each city square, and all the country meadows,
Palace, and paven court, and
every rustic hall.
streams, where alleys and green gardens meeting
Ran downward to the flood with
marble steps a throng
Came forth of all the folk, at even, gaily greeting,
With echo of sweet converse,
jest, and stately song.
In all their
great fair cities there was neither seeking
For power of gold, nor greed
of lust, nor desperate pain
Of multitudes that starve, or, in hoarse anger breaking,
Beat at the doors of princes,
break and fall in vain.
But all the
children of that peaceful land, like brothers,
Lofty of spirit, wise, and ever
set to learn
The chart of neighbouring souls, the bent and need of
Thought only of good deeds,
sweet speech, and just return.
was no prison, power of arms, nor palace,
Where prince or judge held sway,
for none was needed there;
Long ages since the very names of fraud and malice
Had vanished from men’s tongues,
and died from all men’s care.
were no bonds of contract, deed, or marriage,
No oath, nor any form, to make
the word more sure,
For no man dreamed of hurt, dishonour, or miscarriage,
Where every thought was truth,
and every heart was pure.
no castes of rich or poor, of slave or master,
Where all were brothers, and
the curse of gold was dead,
But all that wise fair race to kindlier ends and vaster
Moved on together with the same
And all the
men and women of that land were fairer
Than even the mightiest of our
meaner race can be;
The men like gentle children, great of limb, yet rarer
For wisdom and high thought,
like kings for majesty.
And all the
women through great ages of bright living,
Grown goodlier of stature, strong,
and subtly wise,
Stood equal with the men, calm counsellors, ever giving
The fire and succour of proud
faith and dauntless eyes.
And as I
journeyed in that land I reached a ruin,
The gateway of a lonely and
A phantom of forgotten time and ancient doing,
Eaten by age and violence, crumbled
On its grim
outer walls the ancient world’s sad glories
Were recorded in fire; upon
its inner stone,
Drawn by dead hands, I saw, in tales and tragic stories,
The woe and sickness of an age
of fear made known.
And lo, in
that grey storehouse, fallen to dust and rotten,
Lay piled the traps and engines
of forgotten greed,
The tomes of codes and canons, long disused, forgotten,
The robes and sacred books of
many a vanished creed.
An old grave
man I found, white-haired and gently spoken,
Who, as I questioned, answered
with a smile benign,
‘Long years have come and gone since these poor gauds
Broken and banished from a life
made more divine.
we keep them stored as once our sires deemed fitting,
The symbol of dark days and
lives remote and strange,
Lest o’er the minds of any there should come unwitting
The thought of some new order
and the lust of change.
‘If any grow
disturbed, we bring them gently hither,
To read the world’s grim record
and the sombre lore
Massed in these pitiless vaults, and they returning
Bear with them quieter thoughts,
and make for change no more.’ 100
I journeyed on by one broad way that bore me
Out of that waste, and as I
passed by tower and town
I saw amid the limitless plain far out before me
A long low mountain, blue as
beryl, and its crown
by marble roofs that shone like snow for whiteness,
Its foot was deep in gardens,
and that blossoming plain
Seemed in the radiant shower of its majestic brightness
A land for gods to dwell in,
free from care and pain.
And to and
forth from that fair mountain like a river
Ran many a dim grey road, and
on them I could see
A multitude of stately forms that seemed for ever
Going and coming in bright bands;
and near to me
Was one that
in his journey seemed to dream and linger,
Walking at whiles with kingly
step, the standing still,
And him I met and asked him, pointing with my finger,
The meaning of the palace and
the lofty hill.
dreamer: ‘Art thou of this land, my brother,
And knowest not the mountain
and its crest of walls,
Where swells the priestless worship of the all-wise
That is the hill of Pallas;
those her marble halls!
the lords of knowledge and of thought increasing,
And they whom insight and the
gleams of song uplift;
And thence as by a hundred conduits flows unceasing
The spring of power and beauty,
an eternal gift.’
Still I passed
on until I reached at length, not knowing
Wither the tangled and diverging
paths might lead,
A land of baser men, whose coming and whose going
Were urged by fear, and hunger,
and the curse of greed.
I saw the
proud and fortunate go by me, faring
In fatness and fine robes, the
poor oppressed and slow,
The faces of bowed men, and piteous women bearing
The burden of perpetual sorrow
and the stamp of woe.
of deep solicitude and wondering pity
Possessed me, and with eager
and uplifted hands
I drew the crowd about me in a mighty city,
And taught the message of those
other kindlier lands.
the rule of Faith and brotherly Communion,
The law of Peace and Beauty
and the death of Strife,
And painted in great words the horror of disunion,
The vainness of self-worship,
and the waste of life.
but fruitlessly; the powerful from their stations
Rebuked me as an anarch, envious
And they that served them with lean hands and bitter
Smiled only out of hollow orbs,
and deemed me mad.
I preached, and wrought, and still I bore my message,
For will I knew that on an upward
The spirit works for ever, and by Faith and Presage
That somehow yet the end of
human life is Peace.