by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

1   It little profits that an idle king, 
2   By this still hearth, among these barren crags, 
3   Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole 
4   Unequal laws unto a savage race, 
5   That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me. 

6   I cannot rest from travel: I will drink 
7   Life to the lees: all times I have enjoy'd 
8   Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those 
9   That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when 
10   Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
11   Vext the dim sea: I am become a name; 
12   For always roaming with a hungry heart 
13   Much have I seen and known; cities of men 
14   And manners, climates, councils, governments, 
15   Myself not least, but honour'd of them all; 
16   And drunk delight of battle with my peers, 
17   Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy. 
18   I am a part of all that I have met; 
19   Yet all experience is an arch wherethro' 
20   Gleams that untravell'd world, whose margin fades 
21   For ever and for ever when I move. 
22   How dull it is to pause, to make an end, 
23   To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use! 
24   As tho' to breathe were life. Life piled on life 
25   Were all too little, and of one to me 
26   Little remains: but every hour is saved 
27   From that eternal silence, something more, 
28   A bringer of new things; and vile it were 
29   For some three suns to store and hoard myself, 
30   And this gray spirit yearning in desire 
31   To follow knowledge like a sinking star, 
32   Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. 

33   This is my son, mine own Telemachus, 
34   To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle--- 
35   Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil 
36   This labour, by slow prudence to make mild 
37   A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees 
38   Subdue them to the useful and the good. 
39   Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere 
40   Of common duties, decent not to fail 
41   In offices of tenderness, and pay 
42   Meet adoration to my household gods, 
43   When I am gone. He works his work, I mine. 

44   There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail: 
45   There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners, 
46   Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me--- 
47   That ever with a frolic welcome took 
48   The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed 
49   Free hearts, free foreheads---you and I are old; 
50   Old age hath yet his honour and his toil; 
51   Death closes all: but something ere the end, 
52   Some work of noble note, may yet be done, 
53   Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods. 
54   The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks: 
55   The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep 
56   Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends, 
57   'Tis not too late to seek a newer world. 
58   Push off, and sitting well in order smite 
59   The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds 
60   To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths 
61   Of all the western stars, until I die. 
62   It may be that the gulfs will wash us down: 
63   It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, 
64   And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. 
65   Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho' 
66   We are not now that strength which in old days 
67   Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; 
68   One equal temper of heroic hearts, 
69   Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will 
70   To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.