AY! Unto thee belong
The pipe and song,
Loved by the satyr and the faun!
To thee the olive and the vine,
To thee the Mediterranean pine,
And the soft lapping sea!
Thine, the blood-red revels,
Thine, the bearded goat!
Soft valleys unto thee,
And Aphrodite’s shrine,
And maidens veiled in falling robes of lawn!
But unto us, to us,
The stalwart glories of the North;
Ours is the sounding main,
And ours the voices uttering forth
By midnight round these cliffs a mighty strain;
A tale of viewless islands in the deep
Washed by the waves’ white fire;
Of mariners rocked asleep,
In the great cradle, far from Grecian ire
Of Neptune and his train;
To us, to us,
The dark-leaved shadow and the shining birch,
The flight of gold through hollow woodlands driven,
Soft dying of the year with many a sigh,
These, all, to us are given!
And eyes that eager evermore shall search
The hidden seed, and searching find again
Unfading blossoms of a fadeless spring;
These, these, to us!
The sacred youth and maid,
Coy and half afraid;
The sorrowful earthly pall,
Winter and wintry rain,
And autumn’s gathered grain,
With whispering music in their fall;
These unto us!
And unto thee, Theocritus,
The immortal childhood of the world,
The laughing waters of an inland sea,
And beckoning signal of a sail unfuried!
Annie Fields [1834-1915]