Homer’s noble high-born lords
Think mainly of themselves,
Lasting words and shining swords,
Through flesh and soul they delve.
Yet the highest truths we have
He does not seem to know:
For sinful guilt he gives no salve;
No peace with God does show.
Reading him, one must ask why
There’s good in his wide world,
In lust and shame his gods still lie,
Their vain desires unfurled.
Not even Zeus, in all his pride,
From destiny is free,
Decreed fate he can’t outstride
To govern what will be.
No hope in Priam’s city now
Across the wine-dark sea,
Nor can the black ships show somehow
A way of life to thee.
Tragic ruin, futile rage,
The melody he sings,
A song now sung from age to age,
Still the high beauty rings.
For though he lacked the highest truth
This world his blind eyes saw,
And what he saw his tongue unloosed,
Thrilling the heart with awe.