Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PHAENOMENA: WHEN JUSTICE DWELT ON EARTH, by ARATUS

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

PHAENOMENA: WHEN JUSTICE DWELT ON EARTH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The hurt of strife they knew not in their day
Last Line: Discover near bootes the far-seen.

THE hurt of strife they knew not in their day,
Nor yet sharp quarrel and the noise of war.
Simply they lived, the rude sea far away,
No ships to bring their living from afar;
But cows and ploughs and Justice in her rule
Freely gave all, of just gifts bountiful.

So lived she while the age earth nursed was gold,
But with the silver little and less free
She mingled, yearning for men's ways of old;
Though yet in silver age on earth was she,
Who from the sounding hills would come alone
At evening, with a cheerful word for none.

But when she filled the high hills with mankind,
Then would she threaten, their base lives condemn,
Declare she would not come for eyes to find
When they should call. 'Behold the race of them!
What sons of golden sires! and baser yet,
-- Degenerate stock! -- you too shall misbeget!'

'Now surely wars and wicked lust to kill
Shall be with men, and trouble press them hard!'
She spoke, and to the mountains made; and still
The folk she left there all towards her stared.
But even others came at their decease,
The race of bronze, more dangerous men than these.

Now first they forged the highwayman a sword,
And now first ate the ox from the ploughshare;
Then truly Justice all that race abhorred,
And fled to heaven to make her dwelling there,
Where still at night the Virgin star do men
Discover near Bootes the far-seen.

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