Ode on Indolence"They toil not, neither do they spin."1One morn before me were three figures seen, With bowed necks, and joined hands, side-faced;And one behind the other stepp’d serene, In placid sandals, and in white robes graced:They pass’d, like figures on a marble urn, When shifted round to see the other side; They came again; as when the urn once moreIs shifted round, the first seen shades return; And they were strange to me, as may betide With vases, to one deep in Phidian lore.2How is it, shadows! that I knew ye not? How came ye muffled in so hush a masque?Was it a silent deep-disguised plot To steal away, and leave without a taskMy idle days? Ripe was the drowsy hour; The blissful cloud of summer-indolence Benumb’d my eyes; my pulse grew less and less;Pain had no sting, and pleasure’s wreath no flower. O, why did ye not melt, and leave my sense Unhaunted quite of all but — nothingness?3A third time pass’d they by, and, passing, turn’d Each one the face a moment whiles to me;Then faded, and to follow them I burn’d And ached for wings, because I knew the three:The first was a fair maid, and Love her name; The second was Ambition, pale of cheek, And ever watchful with fatigued eye;The last, whom I love more, the more of blame Is heap’d upon her, maiden most unmeek, — I knew to be my demon Poesy.4They faded, and, forsooth! I wanted wings: O folly! What is Love! and where is it?And for that poor Ambition — it springs From a man’s little heart’s short fever-fit;For Poesy! — no, — she has not a joy, — At least for me, — so sweet as drowsy noons, And evenings steep’d in honied indolence;O, for an age so shelter’d from annoy, That I may never know how change the moons, Or hear the voice of busy common-sense!5A third time came they by; — alas! wherefore? My sleep had been embroider’d with dim dreams;My soul had been a lawn besprinkled o’er With flowers, and stirring shades, and baffled beams:The morn was clouded, but no shower fell, Though in her lids hung the sweet tears of May; The open casement press’d a new-leaved vine, Let in the budding warmth and throstle’s lay;O shadows! ’twas a time to bid farewell! Upon your skirts had fallen no tears of mine.6So, ye three ghosts, adieu! Ye cannot raise My head cool-bedded in the flowery grass;For I would not be dieted with praise, A pet-lamb in a sentimental farce!Fade softly from my eyes, and be once more In masque-like figures on the dreamy urn; Farewell! I yet have visions for the night,And for the day faint visions there is store; Vanish, ye phantoms, from my idle spright, Into the clouds, and never more return!