Ode on indolence

They toil not, neither do they spin.Matthew 6:28

 One 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 more Is shifted round, the first seen shades return;     And they were strange to me, as may betide         With vases, to one deep in Phidian lore. 
 How 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 task My 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? 
 A 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. 
 They 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! 
 A 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. 
 So, 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 dreary 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!