Promethean Ode (Bridges)

robert bridges prometheus ode illustration.jpg

Acrylic on card, 21 x 14.8 cm. 2020.

From Prometheus The Firegiver by Robert Bridges:

   My soul is drunk with joy, her new desire
In far forbidden places wanders away.
Her hopes with free bright-coloured wings of fire
Upon the gloom of thought
Are sailing out.
Awhile they rise, awhile to rest they softly fall,
Like butterflies, that flit
Across the mountains, or upon a wall
Winking their idle fans at pleasure sit.

   O my vague desires!
Ye lambent flames of the soul, her offspring fires:
That are my soul herself in pangs sublime
Rising and flying to heaven before her time:
   What doth tempt you forth
To melt in the south or shiver in the frosty north?
What seek ye or find ye in your random flying,
For ever soaring aloft, soaring and dying?
   Joy, the joy of flight;
They hide in the sun, they flare and dance in the night.
Gone up, gone out of sight—and ever again
Follow fresh tongues of fire, fresh pangs of pain.
   Ah! could I control
These vague desires, these leaping flames of the soul:
Could I but quench the fire, ah! could I stay
My soul that flieth, alas, and dieth away!


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