"Take the world!" Zeus exclaimed from his throne in the skies
To the children of man "take the world I now give;
It shall ever remain as your heirloom and prize,
So divide it as brothers, and happily live."
Then all who had hands sought their share to obtain,
The young and the aged made haste to appear;
The husbandman seized on the fruits of the plain,
The youth through the forest pursued the fleet deer.
The merchant took all that his warehouse could hold,
The abbot selected the last year's best wine,
The king barred the bridges, the highways controlled,
And said, "Now remember, the tithes shall be mine!"
But when the division long-settled had been,
The poet drew nigh from a far distant land;
But alas! not a remnant was now to be seen,
Each thing on the earth owned a master's command.
"Alas! shall then I, of thy sons the most true,
Shall I, 'mongst them all, be forgotten alone?"
Thus loudly he cried in his anguish, and threw
Himself in despair before Jupiter's throne.
"If thou in the region of dreams didst delay,
Complain not of me," the Immortal replied;
"When the world was apportioned, where then wert thou, pray?"
"I was," said the poet, "I was by thy side!"
"Mine eye was then fixed on thy features so bright,
Mine ear was entranced by thy harmony's power;
Oh, pardon the spirit that, awed by thy light,
All things of the earth could forget in that hour!"
"What to do?" Zeus exclaimed, "for the world has been given;
The harvest, the market, the chase, are not free;
But if thou with me wilt abide in my heaven,
Whenever thou comest, 'twill be open to thee!"