Insulæ Fortunatæ.

They cease from labour : care and toil,1
The changing chance of changing day,2
The battle roar around the spoil,3
Are things that have been—passed away.4
They cease from labour : peace and rest,5
A summer sky that always smiles,6
An endless song, an endless feast,7
Awaft them in the Blessed Isles.8
There long to rest them there to walk9
In careless round where fancy leads ;10
There, lapped in rich content, to talk11
Of prowess old, and famous deeds,12
Still the moon’s circles wax and wane,13
And still the morning follows night14
As when, o’er Ilion’s breezy plain,15
The daily dawn brought daily fight.16
The feathered palms, long shadowed, wave17
Above the forest, tall and proud :18
So, some to slay some to save19
They towered once above the crowd.20
There rest the heroes—while the years,21
Uncounted and unheeded, roll22
There tell, untiring, how the spears23
Flew thick, dividing corpse from soul,24
There live—there die; nor pray for more25
in not to lose these memories sweet ;26
Nor look for news from any shore,27
Nor other pleasure hope to meet.28
There live—there rest ; but sometimes sit29
When tiny ripples crisp the sand ;30
When curlews call, it,31
And sea-salt breezes fan the land32
With faces Eastward : there lay Troy ;33
Ida reared her rugged hills ;34
There war brought death, and war brought joy,35
Beside those tiny sister rills.36
They sit lamenting.  “ Isle of Heaven,37
What hast thou half so sweet as life ?38
What Western breeze was ever given,39
So warm as breath of maid and wife ?”40
We lie and talk of things that were,41
When life was young and blood was strong.42
’Twas better, better there than here43
But time was brief—and this is long.”44
So whisper, mournful, while the line45
Of rolling breakers mocks their grief ;46
And, inland, moans the tropic pine ;47
And far off gleams the angry reef.48