Rome: The Vatican--Sala Delle Muse (1887)
I sat in the Muses' Hall at the mid of the day,
by Thomas Hardy
And it seemed to grow still, and the people to pass away,
And the chiselled shapes to combine in a haze of sun,
Till beside a Carrara column there gleamed forth One.
She was nor this nor that of those beings divine,
But each and the whole--an essence of all the Nine;
With tentative foot she neared to my halting-place,
A pensive smile on her sweet, small, marvellous face.
"Regarded so long, we render thee sad?" said she.
"Not you," sighed I, "but my own inconstancy!
I worship each and each; in the morning one,
And then, alas! another at sink of sun.
"To-day my soul clasps Form; but where is my troth
Of yesternight with Tune: can one cleave to both?"
- "Be not perturbed," said she. "Though apart in fame,
As I and my sisters are one, those, too, are the same.
- "But my loves go further--to Story, and Dance, and Hymn,
The lover of all in a sun-sweep is fool to whim -
Is swayed like a river-weed as the ripples run!"
- "Nay, wight, thou sway'st not. These are but phases of one;
"And that one is I; and I am projected from thee,
One that out of thy brain and heart thou causest to be -
Extern to thee nothing. Grieve not, nor thyself becall,
Woo where thou wilt; and rejoice thou canst love at all!