'There sinks the nebulous star we call the Sun, If that hypothesis of theirs be sound' Said Ida; 'let us down and rest;' and we Down from the lean and wrinkled precipices, By every coppice-feathered chasm and cleft, Dropt through the ambrosial gloom to where below No bigger than a glow-worm shone the tent Lamp-lit from the inner. Once she leaned on me, Descending; once or twice she lent her hand, And blissful palpitations in the blood, Stirring a sudden transport rose and fell. But when we planted level feet, and dipt Beneath the satin dome and entered in, There leaning deep in broidered down we sank Our elbows: on a tripod in the midst A fragrant flame rose, and before us glowed Fruit, blossom, viand, amber wine, and gold. Then she, 'Let some one sing to us: lightlier move The minutes fledged with music:' and a maid, Of those beside her, smote her harp, and sang. 'Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean, Tears from the depth of some divine despair Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes, In looking on the happy Autumn-fields, And thinking of the days that are no more. 'Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail, That brings our friends up from the underworld, Sad as the last which reddens over one That sinks with all we love below the verge; So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more. 'Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds To dying ears, when unto dying eyes The casement slowly grows a glimmering square; So sad, so strange, the days that are no more. 'Dear as remembered kisses after death, And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned On lips that are for others; deep as love, Deep as first love, and wild with all regret; O Death in Life, the days that are no more.' She ended with such passion that the tear, She sang of, shook and fell, an erring pearl Lost in her bosom: but with some disdain Answered the Princess, 'If indeed there haunt About the mouldered lodges of the Past So sweet a voice and vague, fatal to men, Well needs it we should cram our ears with wool And so pace by: but thine are fancies hatched In silken-folded idleness; nor is it Wiser to weep a true occasion lost, But trim our sails, and let old bygones be, While down the streams that float us each and all To the issue, goes, like glittering bergs of ice, Throne after throne, and molten on the waste Becomes a cloud: for all things serve their time Toward that great year of equal mights and rights, Nor would I fight with iron laws, in the end Found golden: let the past be past; let be Their cancelled Babels: though the rough kex break The starred mosaic, and the beard-blown goat Hang on the shaft, and the wild figtree split Their monstrous idols, care not while we hear A trumpet in the distance pealing news Of better, and Hope, a poising eagle, burns Above the unrisen morrow:' then to me; 'Know you no song of your own land,' she said, 'Not such as moans about the retrospect, But deals with the other distance and the hues Of promise; not a death's-head at the wine.' Then I remembered one myself had made, What time I watched the swallow winging south From mine own land, part made long since, and part Now while I sang, and maidenlike as far As I could ape their treble, did I sing. 'O Swallow, Swallow, flying, flying South, Fly to her, and fall upon her gilded eaves, And tell her, tell her, what I tell to thee. 'O tell her, Swallow, thou that knowest each, That bright and fierce and fickle is the South, And dark and true and tender is the North. 'O Swallow, Swallow, if I could follow, and light Upon her lattice, I would pipe and trill, And cheep and twitter twenty million loves. 'O were I thou that she might take me in, And lay me on her bosom, and her heart Would rock the snowy cradle till I died. 'Why lingereth she to clothe her heart with love, Delaying as the tender ash delays To clothe herself, when all the woods are green? 'O tell her, Swallow, that thy brood is flown: Say to her, I do but wanton in the South, But in the North long since my nest is made. 'O tell her, brief is life but love is long, And brief the sun of summer in the North, And brief the moon of beauty in the South. 'O Swallow, flying from the golden woods, Fly to her, and pipe and woo her, and make her mine, And tell her, tell her, that I follow thee.'
Exploring The Waste Land
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002