Ode on a Greek Urn

 Thou who as yet hast not had sex with still,
   Thou bought child of hush and slow time,
 Who tells tales of the woods, and thus can tell
   A tall tale much more sweet than can our rhyme:
 What tale that's fringed with leaves now haunts thy shape
   Of gods and men, or too of both,
     In Greek hills or in dales of long gone days?
   What men or gods are these?  What girls so loth?
 What mad chase?  Why try so hard to 'scape?
     What pipes and hand drums?  What wild joy?

 Heard tunes are sweet, but those we do not hear
   Are more sweet; and thus, ye soft pipes, play on;
 Not to the ear of sense, but, yet more dear,
   Pipe to the soul a song that has no tone:
 Fair youth, with trees on top, thou canst not leave
   Thy song, nor can those trees be bare;
     Bold young man, not now, not e'er canst thou kiss,
 Though you are near the goal--yet, do not grieve;
     She can't grow old, though thou hast not thy bliss,
   For all time wilt thou love, and she be fair!

 Ah, full of joy, ye boughs! that can't quite shed
   Your leaves, nor bid the spring "So long";
 And, play the pipes with joy, and not grow tired,
   For all time pipe your songs so new for long;
 Love full of joy! more joy, more joy in love!
   For all time warm yet still can make one joyed,
     For all time yes it pants, and still stays young;
 All breath of man's for what is high and off,
   That leaves a heart quite sad for what is cloyed,
     A head that burns, and parched with thirst a tongue.

 Who are these who now come to kill for gods?
   To what green church, O I don't know you priest,
 Leadst thou that cow who lows up at the clouds,
   And all her flanks like silk with blooms are dressed?
 What small town by the stream or on the shore,
   Or hill-built with a keep that keeps the peace,
     Is clear of folks, this time of gods since dark?
 And, small town, thy streets will have no more
   Sounds; and not a soul will this hush cease
     And tell why they are gone, and not come back.

 O Greek shape! O Fair pose! with brede
   Of stone of men and girls made out,
 With woods and twigs and stepped on weeds;
   Thou, still form, dost tease us out of thought
 As dost all time:  Cold Farm Where Men Sing All!
   When old age shall the young kids waste,
     Thou shalt be here, in midst of some man's woe
   Not ours, a friend to man, to whom thou sayst,
 "What's nice is truth, and truth is nice,--that's all
     Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

                                -- John Keats