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Tinker

Explore the Craft of Writing
Greek Verse

An Idyll, from the Greek, eidyllion - "little picture" can be one of two genres of poetry.

  • An Idyll can be a short pastoral poem, a fanciful poem describing an ideal country scene, with nymphs and shepherds frolicking in the field. The original "Idylls" date back to 300 B.C. by Greek poet, Theocritus. As a genre rather than verse or stanzaic form, the structure or frame is at the discretion of the poet. 

    A pastoral Idyll is lyrical.

    Idyll by Sigfried Sassoon (English poet, 1886-1967)

    In the grey summer garden I shall find you
    With day-break and the morning hills behind you.
    There will be rain-wet roses; stir of wings;
    And down the wood a thrush that wakes and sings.
    Not from the past you'll come, but from that deep
    Where beauty murmurs to the soul asleep:
    And I shall know the sense of life re-born
    From dreams into the mystery of morn
    Where gloom and brightness meet. And standing there
    Till that calm song is done, at last we'll share
    The league-spread, quiring symphonies that are
    Joy in the world, and peace, and dawn's one star.

  • An Idyll can also be an epic poem, a longer poem that tells a story about ancient heroes. The structure of which is at the discretion of the poet.

    An epic Idyll is a narrative.

    Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson

    It little profits that an idle king,
    By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
    Match'd with an agèd wife, I mete and dole
    Unequal laws unto a savage race,
    That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

    I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
    Life to the lees: All times I have enjoyed
    Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
    That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
    Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
    Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
    For always roaming with a hungry heart
    Much have I seen and known; cities of men
    And manners, climates, councils, governments,
    Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
    And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
    Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
    I am a part of all that I have met;
    Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
    Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
    For ever and forever when I move.
    How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
    To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
    As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
    Were all too little, and of one to me
    Little remains: but every hour is saved
    From that eternal silence, something more,
    A bringer of new things; and vile it were
    For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
    And this gray spirit yearning in desire
    To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
    Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

    This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
    To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
    Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
    This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
    A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
    Subdue them to the useful and the good.
    Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
    Of common duties, decent not to fail
    In offices of tenderness, and pay
    Meet adoration to my household gods,
    When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

    There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
    There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
    Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me—
    That ever with a frolic welcome took
    The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
    Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
    Old age hath yet his honor and his toil;
    Death closes all: but something ere the end,
    Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
    Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
    The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
    The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
    Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
    'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
    Push off, and sitting well in order smite
    The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
    To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
    Of all the western stars, until I die.
    It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
    It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
    And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
    Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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