Tiresias, and Other Poems


Alfred Tennyson

O THOU so fair in summers gone,
    While yet thy fresh and virgin soul
Inform’d the pillar’d Parthenon,
    The glittering Capitol;

So fair in southern sunshine bathed,
    But scarce of such majestic mien
As here with forehead vapor-swathed
    In meadows ever green;

For thou—when Athens reign’d and Rome,
    Thy glorious eyes were dimm’d with pain
To mark in many a freeman’s home
    The slave, the scourge, the chain;

O follower of the Vision, still
    In motion to the distant gleam
Howe’er blind force and brainless will
    May jar thy golden dream

Of Knowledge fusing class with class,
    Of civic Hate no more to be,
Of Love to leaven all the mass,
    Till every soul be free;

Who yet, like Nature, wouldst not mar
    By changes all too fierce and fast
This order of her Human Star,
    This heritage of the past;

O scorner of the party cry
    That wanders from the public good,
Thou—when the nations rear on high
    Their idol smear’d with blood,

And when they roll their idol down—
    Of saner worship sanely proud;
Thou loather of the lawless crown
    As of the lawless crowd;

How long thine ever-growing mind
    Hath still’d the blast and strown the wave,
Tho’ some of late would raise a wind
    To sing thee to thy grave,

Men loud against all forms of power—
    Unfurnish’d brows, tempestuous tongues,
Expecting all things in an hour—
    Brass mouths and iron lungs!

Tiresias, and Other Poems - Contents

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