In Divers Tones

by Charles G.D. Roberts

Edited by Tracy Ware




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,—
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.

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,
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.

   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!


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!