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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII. 1876–79.


Ulysses and the Syren

By Samuel Daniel (1562–1619)

COME, worthy Greeke, Ulysses come,

Possesse these shores with me,

The windes and seas are troublesome,

And here we may be free.

Here may we sit and view their toyle,

That travaile in the deepe,

Enjoy the day in mirth the while,

And spend the night in sleepe.

Faire nymph, if fame or honour were

To be attain’d with ease,

Then would I come and rest with thee,

And leave such toiles as these:

But here it dwels, and here must I

With danger seek it forth;

To spend the time luxuriously

Becomes not men of worth.

Ulysses, O be not deceiv’d

With that unreall name:

This honour is a thing conceiv’d,

And rests on others’ fame.

Begotten only to molest

Our peace, and to beguile

(The best thing of our life) our rest,

And give us up to toyle!

Delicious nymph, suppose there were

Nor honor, nor report,

Yet manlinesse would scorne to weare

The time in idle sport:

For toyle doth give a better touch

To make us feele our joy;

And ease findes tediousnes, as much

As labour yeelds annoy.

Then pleasure likewise seemes the shore,

Whereto tendes all your toyle;

Which you forego to make it more,

And perish oft the while.

Who may disport them diversly,

Find never tedious day;

And ease may have variety,

As well as action may.

But natures of the noblest frame

These toyles and dangers please;

And they take comfort in the same,

As much as you in ease:

And with the thought of actions past

Are recreated still:

When pleasure leaves a touch at last

To shew that it was ill.

That doth opinion only cause

That ’s out of custom bred;

Which makes us many other laws

Than ever nature did.

No widdowes waile for our delights,

Our sports are without blood;

The world we see by warlike wights

Receives more hurt than good.

But yet the state of things require

These motions of unrest,

And these great spirits of high desire

Seem borne to turne them best:

To purge the mischiefes, that increase

And all good order mar:

For oft we see a wicked peace

To be well chang’d for war.

Well, well, Ulysses, then I see

I shall not have thee here;

And therefore I will come to thee,

And take my fortune there.

I must be wonne that cannot win,

Yet lost were I not wonne:

For beauty hath created bin

T’ undoo or be undone.