Sunday, November 8, 2015

With Esther

HE who has once been happy is for aye Out of destruction's reach.
His fortune then
Holds nothing secret; and
Which is a mystery to other men, Has like a woman given him its joy.
Time is his conquest. Life, if it should fret.

Has paid him tribute. He can bear to die,

He who has once been happy! When I set

The world before me and survey its range,

Its mean ambitions, its scant fantasies,

The shreds of pleasure which for lack of change

Men wrap around them and call happiness,

The poor delights which are the tale and sum

Of the world's courage in its martyrdom;

When I hear laughter from a tavern door,

When I see crowds agape and in the rain

Watching on tiptoe and with stifled roar

To see a rocket fired or a bull slain,

When misers handle gold, when orators

Touch strong men's hearts with glory till they weep,

When cities deck their streets for barren wars

Which have laid waste their youth, and when I keep

Calmly the count of my own life and see

On what poor stuff my manhood's dreams were fed

Till I too learn'd what dole of vanity

Will serve a human soul for daily bread,
--Then I remember that I once was young
And lived with Esther the world's gods among.

by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt


Terry Nelson said...

Okay, no offense, but this painting is just way too sweet. ;)

elena maria vidal said...

That's because it is from a time when young girls were supposed to be sweet. There is another Alma-Tadema painting I preferred to use but I could not find it anywhere. I'll keep looking.....

elena maria vidal said...

OK, I changed it to Klymt.

Terry Nelson said...

Elena - I'm just teasing - didn'r your husband tease you once? The Klymt is very nice however!

elena maria vidal said...

Ha, ha! I know you were, but you were right, and I had been thinking the same thing.... ;)

Dymphna said...

The man in the painting looks like John Garfield.

elena maria vidal said...

He kind of does, doesn't he?

Enbrethiliel said...


The second verse kind of reminds me of Dover Beach, except that the speaker is actually able to draw comfort from the past.

elena maria vidal said...

Very true! Thanks for making that apt comparison, Enbrethiliel!