Past the despairing wail—
And the bright banquets of the Elysian Vale
Melt every care away!
Delight, that breathes and moves forever,
Glides through sweet fields like some sweet river!
Elysian life survey!
There, fresh with youth, o’er jocund meads,
His merry west-winds blithely leads
The ever-blooming May!
Through gold-woven dreams goes the dance of the Hours,
In space without bounds swell the soul and its powers,
And Truth, with no veil, gives her face to the day.
And joy today and joy tomorrow
But wafts the airy soul aloft;
The very name is lost to Sorrow,
And Pain is Rapture tuned more exquisitely soft.
Here the Pilgrim reposes the world-weary limb,
And forgets in the shadow, cool-breathing and dim,
The load he shall bear never more;
Here the mower, his sickle at rest, by the streams
Lull’d with harp strings, reviews, in the calm of his dreams
The fields, when the harvest is o’er.
Here, He, whose ears drank in the battle roar,
Whose banners streamed upon the startled wind
A thunder-storm,—before whose thunder tread
The mountains trembled,—in soft sleep reclined,
By the sweet brook that o’er its pebbly bed
In silver plays, and murmurs to the shore,
Hears the stern clangour of wild spears no more.
Orpheus he went (as poets tell)
To fetch Euridice from hell;
And had her; but it was upon
This short, but strict, condition:
Backward he should not looke while he
Led her through hell’s obscuritie.
But ah! it happened as he made
His passage through that dreadful shade,
Revolve he did his loving eye,
For gentle feare, or jelousie,
And looking back, that look did sever
Him and Euridice forever.
Dear Reader, should you chance to go
To Hades, do not fail to throw
A “Sop to Cerberus” at the gate,
His anger to propitiate.
Don’t say “Good dog!” and hope thereby
His three fierce Heads to pacify.
What though he try to be polite
And wag his tail with all his might,
How shall one amiable Tail
Against three angry Heads prevail?
The Heads must win.—What puzzles me
Is why in Hades there should be
A watchdog; ’tis, I should surmise,
The last place one would burglarize.
They certainly contrived to raise
Queer ladies in the olden days.
Either the type had not been fixed,
Or else Zooelogy got mixed.
I envy not primeval man
This female on the feathered plan.
We only have, I’m glad to say,
Two kinds of human birds today—
Women and warriors, who still
Wear feathers when dressed up to kill.