Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Samuel Daniel. 1562–1619
  
112. Ulysses and the Siren
  
Siren.COME, worthy Greek! Ulysses, come, 
  Possess these shores with me: 
The winds and seas are troublesome, 
  And here we may be free. 
Here may we sit and view their toil         5
  That travail in the deep, 
And joy the day in mirth the while, 
  And spend the night in sleep. 
 
Ulysses.Fair Nymph, if fame or honour were 
  To be attain'd with ease,  10
Then would I come and rest me there, 
  And leave such toils as these. 
But here it dwells, and here must I 
  With danger seek it forth: 
To spend the time luxuriously  15
  Becomes not men of worth. 
 
Siren.Ulysses, O be not deceived 
  With that unreal name; 
This honour is a thing conceived, 
  And rests on others' fame:  20
Begotten only to molest 
  Our peace, and to beguile 
The best thing of our life—our rest, 
  And give us up to toil. 
 
Ulysses.Delicious Nymph, suppose there were  25
  No honour nor report, 
Yet manliness would scorn to wear 
  The time in idle sport: 
For toil doth give a better touch 
  To make us feel our joy,  30
And ease finds tediousness as much 
  As labour yields annoy. 
 
Siren.Then pleasure likewise seems the shore 
  Whereto tends all your toil, 
Which you forgo to make it more,  35
  And perish oft the while. 
Who may disport them diversely 
  Find never tedious day, 
And ease may have variety 
  As well as action may.  40
 
Ulysses.But natures of the noblest frame 
  These toils and dangers please; 
And they take comfort in the same 
  As much as you in ease; 
And with the thought of actions past  45
  Are recreated still: 
When Pleasure leaves a touch at last 
  To show that it was ill. 
 
Siren.That doth Opinion only cause 
  That 's out of Custom bred,  50
Which makes us many other laws 
  Than ever Nature did. 
No widows wail for our delights, 
  Our sports are without blood; 
The world we see by warlike wights  55
  Receives more hurt than good. 
 
Ulysses.But yet the state of things require 
  These motions of unrest: 
And these great Spirits of high desire 
  Seem born to turn them best:  60
To purge the mischiefs that increase 
  And all good order mar: 
For oft we see a wicked peace 
  To be well changed for war. 
 
Siren.Well, well, Ulysses, then I see  65
  I shall not have thee here: 
And therefore I will come to thee, 
  And take my fortune there. 
I must be won, that cannot win, 
  Yet lost were I not won;  70
For beauty hath created been 
  T' undo, or be undone. 
 
 
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