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A young man, naked, sits under a tree, a harp in one hand; all around him sheep are grazing.
The mild, multitudinous lights lay asleep,
Pastured free on the midnight, and bright as the sheep
Of Apollo in pastoral Thrace; from unknown
Hollow glooms freshen’d odors around them were blown
Intermittingly; then the moon dropp’d from their sight,
Immersed in the mountains, and put out the light
Which no longer they needed to read on the face
Of each other’s life’s last revelation.
Slept sumptuous round them; and Nature, that never
Sleeps, but waking reposes, with patient endeavor
Continued about them, unheeded, unseen,
Her old, quiet toil in the heart of the green
Summer silence, preparing new buds for new blossoms,
And stealing a finger of change o’er the bosoms
Of the unconscious woodlands; and Time, that halts not
His forces, how lovely soever the spot
Where their march lies—the wary, gray strategist, Time,
With the armies of Life, lay encamp’d—Grief and Crime,
Love and Faith, in the darkness unheeded; maturing.
For his great war with man, new surprises; securing
All outlets, pursuing and pushing his foe
To his last narrow refuge—the grave.