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Bayard Taylor

Jan. 11, 1825 - Dec 19, 1878


Orpheus (You sit serene upon your golden seats, ...)

by Bayard Taylor

You sit serene upon your golden seats,
In the bright climate of eternal calm.
No pain can touch you, and the tumult raised
By foolish men dies in this lower air:
But Song -- when from the Poet's perfect lips
Divinest song is shed -- finds entrance there,
And bears his message even to your board.
Great Zeus lifts up his awful brow: his beard
Drops from its knotted coils, and sweeps his knees;
The thunder's edge grows keener in his grasp.
And the grave pleasure seated in his eyes
Brightens Olympian ether. Pallas hears;
Her brow's chill adamant is less severe:
And large-eyed Herè lifts the violet lids,
Shading the languid fountains of her eyes,
To look the joy her indolence makes dumb.

You hear me, Gods! you hear and comfort me.
I see thee, whom in Delos I adored,
And unto whom, beyond the Thracian strait,
I built an altar on the windy isle
Beside the Tauric seas. Thy splendid hair,
Spread by the swiftness of thy chariot-wheels,
Rays with celestial gold thy forehead's arch,
And thine immortal lips, too sweet for man,
Too eloquent for woman, half unclose,
Unuttered consolation in their smile, --
Unspoken promises, whence hope is born
Of something happier, somewhere in the spheres.


The Poet's Journal
Copyright 1863
Ticknor and Fields, Boston