The Midges

By George Sterling

Alcon, the wood-god, wandering his realm,
Found his son Astries in the meadowland
At sunset, squatted on a fallen pine
And much intent upon a swarm of gnats.
To whom the godling: "Father, I have stayed
This hour to wonder at yon tiny folk,
Who dart, and hum, and make so much ado,
Mad with the sunlight. What it is they seek
And whom they praise, and why, I do not know;
But as the hour grows old, and twilight hills
Put on the purple, this I see—that they
With wilder zeal do dash this way and that,
And where each in a foot oŁ space had range,
Now flits he two, and shriller grows the cry,
Larger the host, and greater its concern.
Dost note?" Whereat brown Alcon plucked a root
And beat it on the pine, and briefly spake:
'Aye! aye! they call it 'Progress' !" And the sun
Sank on the forest, and the night was chill.

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