7 May 2014

A Draught of Lethe

Eugene Lee-Hamilton, "Lethe," Sonnets of the Wingless Hours, (Portland: Thomas B. Mosher, 1908) p. 58:
I had a dream of Lethe, — of the brink
  Of sluggish waters, whither strong men bore
  Dead pallid loves; while others, old and sore,
Brought but their tottering selves, in haste to drink:

And having drunk, they plunged, and seemed to sink
  Their load of love or guilt for evermore,
  Reaching with radiant brow the sunny shore
That lay beyond, no more to think and think.

Oh, who will give me, chained to Memory's strand,
  A draught of Lethe, salt with final tears,
Were it one drop within the hollow hand?

Oh, who will rid me of the wasted years,
  The thought of life's fair structure vainly planned,
And each false hope that mocking reappears?

John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, The Waters of Lethe by the Plains of Elysium (1880)

Hat tip: First Known When Lost