[In his poem, Tennyson describes Lotos land: a land where it is always afternoon, "a land of streams," a land of which a sailer dreams when a long time at sea.]
"Rolling a slumbrous sheet of foam below.
"They saw the gleaming river seaward flow
"From the inner land: far off, three mountain-tops,
"Three silent pinnacles of aged snow,
"Stood sunset-flush'd: and, dew'd with showery drops,
"Up-clomb the shadowy pine above the woven copse.
[To this land the "mild eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters came." They had come over the sea and were weary; they were content to go no further; they were content in the knowledge that they would no longer see their home land again. Who were these Lotos-eaters, - weary English sailers in the south Pacific Sea?]
"Most weary seem'd the sea, weary the oar,
"Weary the wandering fields of barren foam.
"Then some one 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."
"Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.
"Here are cool mosses deep,
"And thro' the moss the ivies creep,
"And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,
"And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep.
[Tennyson questions the sense of being "utterly consumed with sharp distress" and "from one sorrow to another thrown." We never seem to "fold our wings, and cease from wonderings," or take advantage of "slumber's holy balm; ... There is no joy but calm! - Why should we only toil ..."]
"Death is the end of life; ah, why
"Should life all labour be?
"Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast,
"And in a little while our lips are dumb.
"Let us alone. What is it that will last?
"... Is there any peace
"In ever climbing up the climbing wave?
"All things have rest, and ripen toward the grave
"In silence; ripen, fall and cease:
"Give us long rest or death, dark death, or dreamful ease.
"Eating the Lotos day by day,
"To watch the crisping ripples on the beach,
"And tender curving lines of creamy spray;
"Two handfuls of white dust, shut in an urn of brass!
"Trouble on trouble, pain on pain,
"Long labour unto aged breath,
"Sore task to hearts worn out with many wars
"And eyes grown dim with gazing on the pilot-stars.
"We have had enough of action, and of motion we,
"Roll'd to starboard, roll'd to larboard, when the surge was seething free,
"Where the wallowing monster spouted his foam-fountains in the sea.
"Let us swaer an oath, and keep it with an equal mind,
"In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined
"On the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind.
"... an ill-used race of men that cleave the soil,
"Sow the seed, and reap the harvest with enduring toil,
"Storing yearly little dues of wheat, and wine and oil;
"Till they perish and suffer - some, 'tis whisper'd - down in hell
"Suffer endless anguish, others in Elysian valleys dwell,
"Resting weary limbs at last on beds of asphodel.
"Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
"Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar;
"Oh rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more.