The coastline ranges far, the skies unfold;
The mountains rise in glory, stair on stair;
The darting Sun seeks Daphne as of old
In thickets dark where laurel blooms are fair.
The ancient sea, deep wrinkled, ever young,
With salt lip kisses still the silver strand;
In caverns dwell the Nymphs, their loves among,
And Titans still with strange fire shake the land.
A thousand generations here have come,
And wandered o’er these hills, and faced the light;
A thousand times slight man from mortal womb
Has leapt, and lapsed again into the night.
Here tribesmen dwelt, and fought, and curst their star,
And scoured both land and sea to sate their needs;
Prophetic eyes of youth gazed here afar,
With lips half open brooding on great deeds.
Nor dreamed each little mortal of the Past,
Nor the deep sources of his life divined,
Watching his herds, or net in ocean cast,
Deaf to th’ ancestral voices down the wind;
Nor guessed what strange sweet likenesses should rise,
Selves of himself, far in the future years,
With his own soul within their sunlit eyes,
And in their hearts his secret hopes and fears.
Yet I—I saw. Yea, from my lofty stand
I saw each life continuous extend
Beyond its mortal bound, and reach a hand
To others and to others without end.
I saw the generations like a river
Flow down from age to age, and all the vast
Complex of human passion float and quiver—
A wondrous mirror where the Gods were glassed.
And still through all these ages scarce a change
Has touched my mountain slopes or seaward curve,
And still the folk beneath the old laws range,
And from their ancient customs hardly swerve;
Still Love and Death, veiled figures, hand in hand,
Move o’er men’s heads, dread, irresistible,
To ope the portals of that other land
Where the great Voices sound and Visions dwell.
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