Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 7/The parting of Ulysses: An Homeric reminiscence

Once a Week, Series 1, Volume VII  (1862) 
The parting of Ulysses. An Homeric reminiscence
by Morgan George Watkins

See also the drawing by Millais on the same subject, later in this volume of the magazine.


I dare not live, thy loving thrall;
Dread queen, I quit thy wondrous hall;
Soft dreamy days, time’s perfumed fall,
Farewell, for aye farewell!
Yon trembling star, that gems the west,
Shakes o’er the land where I must rest;
The great gods beckon, their behest
Is “onward e’en through hell!”
Stay me not; raise, dread queen, thine eyes;
Lo! crimson floods eve’s amber skies!
Pearl-dropped, thy soft-fringed eye-lash lies
In shade upon my face.
Call me not cruel! curse my fate,
Tis that which leaves thee desolate;
The gods are stern; the galleys wait,
Good rowers, take your place!
Ah, loose thy clinging arms! their sheath
Rusts the bold heart—and yet, thy breath
Ambrosial soothes my neck—oh, death!
Dost thou not spare too long?
Is life a boon, if I must part
From love like Circe’s? Faithless heart,
Better death’s pang than live’s long smart!
True wife I do thee wrong!
Yield me my mates, my frolic crew;
The palm-leaves cloud with glistening dew;
Tis late! Bright-hair’d one, ah! too few
The working hours of life!
Dear Ithaca, my rocky home,
Remembered more, the more I roam,
I hold thee e’en through leagues of foam,
Lov’d isle, sweet son, true wife!
List, glittering Circe! wedded love
Burns stronger than yon orbs which move
To greet their crescent queen above,
Fair stars, that blind the day!
By magic wiles made once thine own,
Uncharm’d, my weakness stands like stone;
The gods draw back their lingering loan,
Farewell! my crew give way!