In Divers Tones

by Charles G.D. Roberts

Edited by Tracy Ware


 

A BALLADE OF CALYPSO


 

The loud black flight of the storm diverges
   Over a spot in the loud-mouthed main,
Where, crowned with summer and sun, emerges
   An isle unbeaten of wind or rain.
   And here, of its sweet queen grown full fain,—
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By whose kisses the whole broad earth seems poor,—
   Tarries the wave-worn prince, Troy’s bane,
In the green Ogygian Isle secure.

To her voice our sweetest songs are dirges.
   She gives him all things, counting it gain.

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Ringed with the rocks and ancient surges,
   How could Fate dissever these twain?
   But him no loves nor delights retain;
New knowledge, new lands, new loves allure;
   Forgotten the perils, and toils, and pain,
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In the green Ogygian Isle secure.

So he spurns her kisses and gifts, and urges
   His weak skiff over the wind-vext plain,
Till the gray of the sky in the gray sea merges,
   And nights reel round, and waver, and wane.

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   He sits once more in his own domain.
No more the remote sea-walls immure.—
      But ah, for the love he shall clasp not again
In the green Ogygian Isle secure!

                              L’ENVOI.

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Princes, and ye whose delights remain,
      To the one good gift of the gods hold sure,
Lest ye too mourn, in vain, in vain,
      Your green Ogygian Isle secure!