Ode On Indolence



    One morn before me were three figures seen,
    I With bowed necks, and joined hands, side-faced;
    And one behind the other stepp'd serene,
    In placid sandals, and in white robes graced;
    They pass'd, like figures on a marble urn,
    When shifted round to see the other side;
    They came again; as when the urn once more
    Is shifted round, the first seen shades return;
    And they were strange to me, as may betide
    With vases, to one deep in Phidian lore.


    How is it, Shadows! that I knew ye not?
    How came ye muffled in so hush a masque?
    Was it a silent deep-disguised plot
    To steal away, and leave without a task
    My idle days? Ripe was the drowsy hour;
    The blissful cloud of summer-indolence
    Benumb'd my eyes; my pulse grew less and less;
    Pain had no sting, and pleasure's wreath no flower:
    O, why did ye not melt, and leave my sense
    Unhaunted quite of all but nothingness?


    A third time came they by; alas! wherefore?
    My sleep had been embroider'd with dim dreams;
    My soul had been a lawn besprinkled o'er
    With flowers, and stirring shades, and baffled beams:
    The morn was clouded, but no shower fell,
    Tho' in her lids hung the sweet tears of May;
    The open casement press'd a new-leav'd vine,
    Let in the budding warmth and throstle's lay;
    O Shadows! 'twas a time to bid farewell!
    Upon your skirts had fallen no tears of mine.


    A third time pass'd they by, and, passing, turn'd
    Each one the face a moment whiles to me;
    Then faded, and to follow them I burn'd
    And ached for wings, because I knew the three;
    The first was a fair maid, and Love her name;
    The second was Ambition, pale of cheek,
    And ever watchful with fatigued eye;
    The last, whom I love more, the more of blame
    Is heap'd upon her, maiden most unmeek,
    I knew to be my demon Poesy.


    They faded, and, forsooth! I wanted wings:
    O folly! What is Love! and where is it?
    And for that poor Ambition it springs
    From a man's little heart's short fever-fit;
    For Poesy! no, she has not a joy,
    At least for me, so sweet as drowsy noons,
    And evenings steep'd in honied indolence;
    O, for an age so shelter'd from annoy,
    That I may never know how change the moons,
    Or hear the voice of busy common-sense!


    So, ye three Ghosts, adieu! Ye cannot raise
    My head cool-bedded in the flowery grass;
    For I would not be dieted with praise,
    A pet-lamb in a sentimental farce!
    Fade sofdy from my eyes, and be once more
    In masque-like figures on the dreamy urn;
    Farewell! I yet have visions for the night,
    And for the day faint visions there is store;
    Vanish, ye Phantoms! from my idle spright,
    Into the clouds, and never more return!


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