Invitation To A Young But Learned Friend To Abandon Archaeology For The Moment, And Play Once More With His Neglected Muse.

A poem by James Elroy Flecker

In those good days when we were young and wise,
You spake to music, you with the thoughtful eyes,
And God looked down from heaven, pleased to hear
A young man's song arise so firm and clear.
Has Fancy died? The Morning Star gone cold?
Why are you silent? Have we grown so old?
Must I alone keep playing? Will not you,
Lord of the Measures, string your lyre anew?
Lover of Greece, is this the richest store
You bring us,--withered leaves and dusty lore,
And broken vases widowed of their wine,
To brand you pedant while you stand divine?
Decorous words beseem the learned lip,
But Poets have the nicer scholarship.

In English glades they watch the Cyprian glow,
And all the Maenad melodies they know.
They hear strange voices in a London street,
And track the silver gleam of rushing feet;
And these are things that come not to the view
Of slippered dons who read a codex through.
O honeyed Poet, will you praise no more
The moonlit garden and the midnight shore?
Brother, have you forgotten how to sing
The story of that weak and cautious king
Who reigned two hundred years in Trebizond?
You who would ever strive to pierce beyond
Love's ecstacy, Life's vision, is it well
We should not know the tales you have to tell?

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