Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Greece
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Greece and Turkey in Europe: Vol. XIX.  1876–79.
Introductory to Greece
Ode on a Grecian Urn
John Keats (1795–1821)
THOU still unravished bride of quietness!
  Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
  A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape        5
  Of deities or mortals, or of both,
    In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
  What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
    What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?        10
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
  Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endeared,
  Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave        15
  Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
    Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal,—yet, do not grieve;
  She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
    Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair!        20
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
  Your leaves, nor ever bid the spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
  Forever piping songs forever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!        25
  Forever warm and still to be enjoyed,
    Forever panting and forever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
  That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloyed,
    A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.        30
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
  To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
  And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or seashore,        35
  Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
    Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets forevermore
  Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
    Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.        40
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
  Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
  Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: cold pastoral!        45
  When old age shalt this generation waste,
    Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
  “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,”—that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.        50
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