To Ulysses*

A poem by Alfred Tennyson


Ulysses, much-experienced man,
Whose eyes have known this globe of ours,
Her tribes of men, and trees, and flowers,
From Corrientes to Japan,


To you that bask below the Line,
I soaking here in winter wet–
The century’s three strong eights have met
To drag me down to seventy-nine


In summer if I reach my day–
To you, yet young, who breathe the balm
Of summer-winters by the palm
And orange grove of Paraguay,


I tolerant of the colder time,
Who love the winter woods, to trace
On paler heavens the branching grace
Of leafless elm, or naked lime,


And see my cedar green, and there
My giant ilex keeping leaf
When frost is keen and days are brief–
Or marvel how in English air


My yucca, which no winter quells,
Altho’ the months have scarce begun,
Has push’d toward our faintest sun
A spike of half-accomplish’d bells–


Or watch the waving pine which here
The warrior of Caprera set,*
A name that earth will not forget
Till earth has roll’d her latest year–


I, once half-crazed for larger light
On broader zones beyond the foam,
But chaining fancy now at home
Among the quarried downs of Wight,


Not less would yield full thanks to you
For your rich gift, your tale of lands
I know not,* your Arabian sands;
Your cane, your palm, tree-fern, bamboo,


The wealth of tropic bower and brake;
Your Oriental Eden-isles,*
Where man, nor only Nature smiles;
Your wonder of the boiling lake;*


Phra-Chai, the Shadow of the Best,*
Phra-bat* the step; your Pontic coast;
Crag-cloister;* Anatolian Ghost;*
Hong-Kong,* Karnac,* and all the rest.


Thro’ which I follow’d line by line
Your leading hand, and came, my friend,
To prize your various book, and send
A gift of slenderer value, mine.

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