Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
XXVII. Vain Longing
To his Friend in Elysium
By Joachim du Bellay (1552–1560)
Translated by Andrew Lang

SO long you wandered on the dusky plain,
Where flit the shadows with their endless cry,
  You reach the shore where all the world goes by,
You leave the strife, the slavery, the pain;
But we, but we, the mortals that remain        5
  In vain stretch hands; for Charon sullenly
  Drives us afar, we may not come anigh
Till that last mystic obolus we gain.
But you are happy in the quiet place,
And with the learnèd lovers of old days,        10
  And with your love, you wander evermore
In the dim woods, and drink forgetfulness
Of us your friends, a weary crowd that press
  About the gate, or labour at the oar.

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