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The Strayed Reveller

 1 Faster, faster, 
2 O Circe, Goddess,
3 Let the wild, thronging train 
4 The bright procession 
5 Of eddying forms, 
6 Sweep through my soul! 

7 Thou standest, smiling
8 Down on me! thy right arm,
9 Lean'd up against the column there,
10 Props thy soft cheek;
11 Thy left holds, hanging loosely,
12 The deep cup, ivy-cinctured,
13 I held but now.
14 Is it, then, evening 15 So soon? I see, the night-dews, 16 Cluster'd in thick beads, dim 17 The agate brooch-stones 18 On thy white shoulder; 19 The cool night-wind, too, 20 Blows through the portico, 21 Stirs thy hair, Goddess, 22 Waves thy white robe! Circe.
23 Whence art thou, sleeper? The Youth.
24 When the white dawn first 25 Through the rough fir-planks 26 Of my hut, by the chestnuts, 27 Up at the valley-head, 28 Came breaking, Goddess! 29 I sprang up, I threw round me 30 My dappled fawn-skin; 31 Passing out, from the wet turf, 32 Where they lay, by the hut door, 33 I snatch'd up my vine-crown, my fir-staff, 34 All drench'd in dew- 35 Came swift down to join 36 The rout early gather'd 37 In the town, round the temple, 38 Iacchus' white fane 39 On yonder hill.
40 Quick I pass'd, following 41 The wood-cutters' cart-track 42 Down the dark valley;-I saw 43 On my left, through the beeches, 44 Thy palace, Goddess, 45 Smokeless, empty! 46 Trembling, I enter'd; beheld 47 The court all silent, 48 The lions sleeping, 49 On the altar this bowl.
50 I drank, Goddess! 51 And sank down here, sleeping, 52 On the steps of thy portico.
53 Foolish boy! Why tremblest thou? 54 Thou lovest it, then, my wine? 55 Wouldst more of it? See, how glows, 56 Through the delicate, flush'd marble, 57 The red, creaming liquor, 58 Strown with dark seeds! 59 Drink, thee! I chide thee not, 60 Deny thee not my bowl.
61 Come, stretch forth thy hand, thee-so! 62 Drink-drink again! The Youth.
63 Thanks, gracious one! 64 Ah, the sweet fumes again! 65 More soft, ah me, 66 More subtle-winding 67 Than Pan's flute-music! 68 Faint-faint! Ah me, 69 Again the sweet sleep! Circe.
70 Hist! Thou-within there! 71 Come forth, Ulysses! 72 Art tired with hunting? 73 While we range the woodland, 74 See what the day brings.
75 Ever new magic! 76 Hast thou then lured hither, 77 Wonderful Goddess, by thy art, 78 The young, languid-eyed Ampelus, 79 Iacchus' darling- 80 Or some youth beloved of Pan, 81 Of Pan and the Nymphs? 82 That he sits, bending downward 83 His white, delicate neck 84 To the ivy-wreathed marge 85 Of thy cup; the bright, glancing vine-leaves 86 That crown his hair, 87 Falling forward, mingling 88 With the dark ivy-plants-- 89 His fawn-skin, half untied, 90 Smear'd with red wine-stains? Who is he, 91 That he sits, overweigh'd 92 By fumes of wine and sleep, 93 So late, in thy portico? 94 What youth, Goddess,-what guest 95 Of Gods or mortals? Circe.
96 Hist! he wakes! 97 I lured him not hither, Ulysses.
98 Nay, ask him! The Youth.
99 Who speaks' Ah, who comes forth 100 To thy side, Goddess, from within? 101 How shall I name him? 102 This spare, dark-featured, 103 Quick-eyed stranger? 104 Ah, and I see too 105 His sailor's bonnet, 106 His short coat, travel-tarnish'd, 107 With one arm bare!-- 108 Art thou not he, whom fame 109 This long time rumours 110 The favour'd guest of Circe, brought by the waves? 111 Art thou he, stranger? 112 The wise Ulysses, 113 Laertes' son? Ulysses.
114 I am Ulysses.
115 And thou, too, sleeper? 116 Thy voice is sweet.
117 It may be thou hast follow'd 118 Through the islands some divine bard, 119 By age taught many things, 120 Age and the Muses; 121 And heard him delighting 122 The chiefs and people 123 In the banquet, and learn'd his songs.
124 Of Gods and Heroes, 125 Of war and arts, 126 And peopled cities, 127 Inland, or built 128 By the gray sea.
-If so, then hail! 129 I honour and welcome thee.
The Youth.
130 The Gods are happy.
131 They turn on all sides 132 Their shining eyes, 133 And see below them 134 The earth and men.
135 They see Tiresias 136 Sitting, staff in hand, 137 On the warm, grassy 138 Asopus bank, 139 His robe drawn over 140 His old sightless head, 141 Revolving inly 142 The doom of Thebes.
143 They see the Centaurs 144 In the upper glens 145 Of Pelion, in the streams, 146 Where red-berried ashes fringe 147 The clear-brown shallow pools, 148 With streaming flanks, and heads 149 Rear'd proudly, snuffing 150 The mountain wind.
151 They see the Indian 152 Drifting, knife in hand, 153 His frail boat moor'd to 154 A floating isle thick-matted 155 With large-leaved, low-creeping melon-plants 156 And the dark cucumber.
157 He reaps, and stows them, 158 Drifting--drifting;--round him, 159 Round his green harvest-plot, 160 Flow the cool lake-waves, 161 The mountains ring them.
162 They see the Scythian 163 On the wide stepp, unharnessing 164 His wheel'd house at noon.
165 He tethers his beast down, and makes his meal-- 166 Mares' milk, and bread 167 Baked on the embers;--all around 168 The boundless, waving grass-plains stretch, thick-starr'd 169 With saffron and the yellow hollyhock 170 And flag-leaved iris-flowers.
171 Sitting in his cart 172 He makes his meal; before him, for long miles, 173 Alive with bright green lizards, 174 And the springing bustard-fowl, 175 The track, a straight black line, 176 Furrows the rich soil; here and there 177 Cluster of lonely mounds 178 Topp'd with rough-hewn, 179 Gray, rain-blear'd statues, overpeer 180 The sunny waste.
181 They see the ferry 182 On the broad, clay-laden 183 Lone Chorasmian stream;--thereon, 184 With snort and strain, 185 Two horses, strongly swimming, tow 186 The ferry-boat, with woven ropes 187 To either bow 188 Firm harness'd by the mane; a chief 189 With shout and shaken spear, 190 Stands at the prow, and guides them; but astern 191 The cowering merchants, in long robes, 192 Sit pale beside their wealth 193 Of silk-bales and of balsam-drops, 194 Of gold and ivory, 195 Of turquoise-earth and amethyst, 196 Jasper and chalcedony, 197 And milk-barred onyx-stones.
198 The loaded boat swings groaning 199 In the yellow eddies; 200 The Gods behold him.
201 They see the Heroes 202 Sitting in the dark ship 203 On the foamless, long-heaving 204 Violet sea.
205 At sunset nearing 206 The Happy Islands.
207 These things, Ulysses, 208 The wise bards, also 209 Behold and sing.
210 But oh, what labour! 211 O prince, what pain! 212 They too can see 213 Tiresias;--but the Gods, 214 Who give them vision, 215 Added this law: 216 That they should bear too 217 His groping blindness, 218 His dark foreboding, 219 His scorn'd white hairs; 220 Bear Hera's anger 221 Through a life lengthen'd 222 To seven ages.
223 They see the Centaurs 224 On Pelion:--then they feel, 225 They too, the maddening wine 226 Swell their large veins to bursting; in wild pain 227 They feel the biting spears 228 Of the grim Lapith?, and Theseus, drive, 229 Drive crashing through their bones; they feel 230 High on a jutting rock in the red stream 231 Alcmena's dreadful son 232 Ply his bow;--such a price 233 The Gods exact for song: 234 To become what we sing.
235 They see the Indian 236 On his mountain lake; but squalls 237 Make their skiff reel, and worms 238 In the unkind spring have gnawn 239 Their melon-harvest to the heart.
--They see 240 The Scythian: but long frosts 241 Parch them in winter-time on the bare stepp, 242 Till they too fade like grass; they crawl 243 Like shadows forth in spring.
244 They see the merchants 245 On the Oxus stream;--but care 246 Must visit first them too, and make them pale.
247 Whether, through whirling sand, 248 A cloud of desert robber-horse have burst 249 Upon their caravan; or greedy kings, 250 In the wall'd cities the way passes through, 251 Crush'd them with tolls; or fever-airs, 252 On some great river's marge, 253 Mown them down, far from home.
254 They see the Heroes 255 Near harbour;--but they share 256 Their lives, and former violent toil in Thebes, 257 Seven-gated Thebes, or Troy; 258 Or where the echoing oars 259 Of Argo first 260 Startled the unknown sea.
261 The old Silenus 262 Came, lolling in the sunshine, 263 From the dewy forest-coverts, 264 This way at noon.
265 Sitting by me, while his Fauns 266 Down at the water-side 267 Sprinkled and smoothed 268 His drooping garland, 269 He told me these things.
270 But I, Ulysses, 271 Sitting on the warm steps, 272 Looking over the valley, 273 All day long, have seen, 274 Without pain, without labour, 275 Sometimes a wild-hair'd M?nad-- 276 Sometimes a Faun with torches-- 277 And sometimes, for a moment, 278 Passing through the dark stems 279 Flowing-robed, the beloved, 280 The desired, the divine, 281 Beloved Iacchus.
282 Ah, cool night-wind, tremulous stars! 283 Ah, glimmering water, 284 Fitful earth-murmur, 285 Dreaming woods! 286 Ah, golden-haired, strangely smiling Goddess, 287 And thou, proved, much enduring, 288 Wave-toss'd Wanderer! 289 Who can stand still? 290 Ye fade, ye swim, ye waver before me-- 291 The cup again! 292 Faster, faster, 293 O Circe, Goddess.
294 Let the wild, thronging train, 295 The bright procession 296 Of eddying forms, 297 Sweep through my soul!

Poem by Matthew Arnold
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