BLIND singer of the world’s desire,
Thy world is ours. Thy song Troy town
Built, burned ; and then thy lyre
Burst in a blaze of fire
Seas shall not drown.
First kindled in a woman’s eyes,
Fire burned high Troy; and beckoned men
From home; and from the skies
The gods; those flames yet rise,
Yea, now as then.
Yea, now as then, the world’s desire,
Though hidden from us, still doth dwell
In Helen’s heart of fire,
And breathes upon thy lyre
Her mighty spell.
Against new gods we wage our wars,
New cities build or burn with fire;
And still, beneath the stars,
We beat against the bars
Of blind desire.
Our world is thine. New wars we wage,
Under old skies. Our richest wine
Hath savor of thine age :
We write on life’s last page
The book is thine.
Of life’s brave book the leaves are turned,
And as we read we wonder how
Thy blinded eyes discerned
Life’s hidden fires, — that burned
Even then as now.
Oh thou who first, when earth was young,
Sang fate defied and mortals slain,
Upon that honeyed tongue,
How sweet thy songs, though sung
Of mortal pain.
What songs have we thou dost not sing,
What fates thy heart hath not foretold!
Breathe thou the songs we bring ;
Bees on thy mouth still cling,
Now, as of old.
Alexander Blair Thaw.