"There Is Sweet Music Here"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Tennyson adapts the story of the Lotos-Eaters from Book IX of the Odyssey. The poem is famous for its sensuous richness. Ulysses and his followers come upon "a land/ In which it seeméd always afternoon./ All round the coast the languid air did swoon,/ Breathing like one that hath a weary dream . . . A land of streams! . . . A land where all things always seemed the same!" "The mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters" come and give the sailors the "enchanted stem." The bewitched sailors sit on the beach and sing. It is sweet to dream of home and family, but "Most weary seemed the sea, weary the oar . . . Then someone said, 'We will return no more';/ And all at once they sang, 'Our island home/ Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam.'" They sing a Choric Song, expressing their desire to rest forever:

There is sweet music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
Or night-dews on still waters between walls
Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;
Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,
Than tired eyelids upon tired eyes;
Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.
Here are cool mosses deep,
And through the moss the ivies creep,
And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,
And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep.