WHEN high Zeus first peopled earth,
As sages say,
All were children of one birth,
Helpless nurslings. Doves and bees
Tended their soft infancies :
Hand to hand they tossed the ball,
And none smiled to see the play,
Nor stood aside
And pleasure of their youthful day.
Then all waxed gray,
Mourning in companies the winter dearth :
Whatever they saw befall
Their neighbours, they
Felt in themselves ; so lay
On life a pall.
Zeus at the confusion smiled,
And said, "From hence
Man by change must be beguiled ;
Age with royalties of death.
Childhood sweeter than its breath,
Will be won, if we provide
Wisely he planned ;
The tiny hand
In eld's weak palm found providence,
And each through influence
Of things beholden and not borne grew mild ;
Youths by the old man's side
To crystal sense
Dear, is not the story's truth
Most manifest ?
Had our lives been twined, forsooth,
We had never had one heart :
By Time set a space apart,
We are bound by such close ties
None can tell of either breast
The native sigh
To learn with whom the Muse is guest.
How sovereignly I'm blest
To see and smell the rose of my own youth
In thee : how pleasant lies
My life, at rest
From dream, its hope expressed
Before mine eyes.