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Poem by Lewis Morris


Two Voyages


Two ships which meet upon the ocean waste,
And stay a little while, and interchange
Tidings from two strange lands, which lie beneath
Each its own heaven and particular stars,

And fain would tarry; but the impatient surge
Calls, and a cold wind from the setting sun
Divides them, and they sadly drift apart,
And fade, and sink, and vanish, 'neath the verge

One to the parching plains and seething seas
Smitten by the tyrannous Sun, where Mind alone
Withers amid the bounteous outerworld,
And prodigal Nature dwarfs and chains the man

One to cold rains, rude winds, and hungry waves
Split on the frowning granite, niggard suns.
And snows and mists which starve the vine and palm,
But nourish to more glorious growth the man.

One to the scentless flowers and songless birds,
Swift storms and poison stings and ravening jaws:
One to spring violets and nightingales,
Sleek-coated kine and honest gray-eyed skies.

One to lie helpless on the stagnant sea,
Or sink in sleep beneath the hurricane:
One to speed on, white-winged, through summer airs,
Or sow the rocks with ruinwho shall tell?

So with two souls which meet on life's broad deep,
And cling together but may not stay; for Time
And Age and chills of Absence wear the links
Which bind them, and they part for evermore

One to the tropic lands of fame and gold,
And feverish thirst and weariness of soul;
One to long struggles and a wintry life,
Decked with one sweet white bloom of happy love.

For each, one fate, to live and die apart,
Save for some passing smile of kindred souls;
Then drift away alone, on opposite tides,
To one dark harbour and invisible goal

'TIME flies too fast, too fast our life decays.'
Ah, faithless! in the present lies our being;
And not in lingering love for vanished days!

'Come, happy future, when my soul shall live.'
Ah, fool! thy life is now, and not again;
The future holds not joy nor pain to give!

'Live for what is : future and past are naught.'
Ah, blind! a flash, and what shall be, has been.
Where, then, is that for which thou takest thought?

Not in what has been, is, or is to be,
The wise soul lives, but in a wider time,
Which is not any, but contains the three! 



                      Lewis Morris


Lewis Morris's other poems:
  1. A Cynic's Day-Dream
  2. A Yorkshire River
  3. The Reply
  4. The Living Past
  5. On an Old Minster


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