Ultima Thule

By George Sterling

Alone I watched one twilight-time
    A little cloud go by,
Remote within the fairer clime
    Of sunset's gleaming sky.

So far, so bright, it drifted on
    O'er ocean's azure wall
I could but muse of glories gone,
    In days beyond recall.

Swift, as to dim Hesperides,
    The wind fled on its way;
It whispered to the kindly trees
    And paused, but could not stay.

The evening star at ocean's brink
    Passed seaward with the night.
How pure it burned! I sighed to think
    What eyes would seek its light.

I fain with star and cloud and wind
    Had held elysian quest
And sought all secrets undivined,
    Beyond the mystic West;

But turned me to familiar things,
    A lowlier way to go,
For who shall take their deathless wings,
    Or who their freedom know?

A sense of loss was at my heart,
    Of beauty far and strange,
Of deeper joys in lives apart—
    And over all, what change!

Bibliography Entry