How far, Since Then

Ultima Thule

BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

With favoring winds, o'er sunlit seas, 

We sailed for the Hesperides, 

The land where golden apples grow; 

But that, ah! that was long ago. 

 

How far, since then, the ocean streams 

Have swept us from that land of dreams, 

That land of fiction and of truth, 

The lost Atlantis of our youth! 

 

Whither, ah, whither? Are not these 

The tempest-haunted Orcades, 

Where sea-gulls scream, and breakers roar, 

And wreck and sea-weed line the shore? 

 

Ultima Thule! Utmost Isle! 

Here in thy harbors for a while 

We lower our sails; a while we rest 

From the unending, endless quest. 

Comments 8

 
Rosy Cole on Monday, 31 December 2018 13:39

Nice! Thank you! (As a writer, and one striving with the economics of poetry, I mind have a slight issue with 'unending, endless'. But that's just me!) :-)

Nice! Thank you! (As a writer, and one striving with the economics of poetry, I mind have a slight issue with 'unending, endless'. But that's just me!) :-)
Stephen Evans on Monday, 31 December 2018 18:55

It's not just you - I had the same thought! It seems like the kind of thing you write when the publisher is waiting for the manuscript and it has to get there today.

I looked up this poem when I read about the New Horizon flyby of the Ultima Thule object:

https://www.space.com/42864-new-horizons-ultima-thule-flyby-what-to-expect.html

Maybe 4 billion miles is what unending, endless means.,

It's not just you - I had the same thought! It seems like the kind of thing you write when the publisher is waiting for the manuscript and it has to get there today. I looked up this poem when I read about the New Horizon flyby of the Ultima Thule object: https://www.space.com/42864-new-horizons-ultima-thule-flyby-what-to-expect.html Maybe 4 billion miles is what unending, endless means.,
Rosy Cole on Tuesday, 01 January 2019 12:10

Yes, I had heard about the space thing :-) but I don't suppose Longfellow had, at least not in the way we have. As I view it, there's a lot more mileage for the human race in his vision.

Yes, I had heard about the space thing :-) but I don't suppose Longfellow had, at least not in the way we have. As I view it, there's a lot more mileage for the human race in his vision.
Stephen Evans on Tuesday, 01 January 2019 17:05

I have to admit I haven't read much of Longfellow - oh good - a project for the new year!

Happy New Year to all!

I have to admit I haven't read much of Longfellow - oh good - a project for the new year! Happy New Year to all!
Rosy Cole on Tuesday, 01 January 2019 23:56

I think it's really about Avalon and Lyonesse, Arcady and the Garden of Eden, the place left behind and the place of longed for return, always out of reach. It's not just nostalgia, it reflects the whole human journey.

What that says about the space programme in these surreal times...

I think it's really about Avalon and Lyonesse, Arcady and the Garden of Eden, the place left behind and the place of longed for return, always out of reach. It's not just nostalgia, it reflects the whole human journey. What that says about the space programme in these surreal times...
Stephen Evans on Wednesday, 02 January 2019 01:15

It does sound Avalon-like, a place of rest. I am rethinking my criticism of 'unending, endless' though. to end or not is a choice. Endless is a category. He chooses not to end the quest at Ultima Thule, the farthest land, knowing the journey beyond is endless. Yes, I think there is a distinction there, though whether that is what he had in mind I can't say.

It does sound Avalon-like, a place of rest. I am rethinking my criticism of 'unending, endless' though. to end or not is a choice. Endless is a category. He chooses not to end the quest at Ultima Thule, the farthest land, knowing the journey beyond is endless. Yes, I think there is a distinction there, though whether that is what he had in mind I can't say.
Rosy Cole on Wednesday, 02 January 2019 12:12

Maybe you should have called your latest book Ultima Thule. :-) He was, after all, referring to this https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thule_carta_marina_Olaus_Magnus.jpg

Maybe you should have called your latest book [i]Ultima Thule[/i]. :-) He was, after all, referring to this https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thule_carta_marina_Olaus_Magnus.jpg
Stephen Evans on Thursday, 03 January 2019 19:28

Great illustration! Here be Balena.

Great illustration! Here be Balena.
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Captcha Image

Latest Comments

Katherine Gregor A Few Thoughts About Lent
13 March 2019
Now I didn't know that! Thank you!
Stephen Evans A Few Thoughts About Lent
13 March 2019
The word itself as I understand it comes from the Middle English term for Spring - which fits right ...
Katherine Gregor The Hour of the Book
08 March 2019
Well, that's Europe for you (while it lasts for the UK!) – everything small and close together. Mor...
Katherine Gregor The Hour of the Book
08 March 2019
You're very kind, Rosy. Thank you.
Stephen Evans The Hour of the Book
07 March 2019
How wonderful to have a bookstore you can walk to! They are few and far between in my area. The clos...

Latest Blogs

  Bridal Procession on Hardanger Fiord - Hans Gude (with a little assistance from Adolph Tidemand).     Lift thine eyes, O lift t...
As the Dean traced the ash cross on my forehead and said, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.  Turn away from sin and be faithf...
    At Independence Pass perched on the scythe edge of a predicament did you discover the landscape formed a route to Independence? Or...
The day is drawing in and I'm rushing to finish translating a page.  I need to look up a word and that slows me down.  I don't like to stop mid-page b...
Constant Comment tea. The Christmas mug with the nearly faded snow man.  A splash of milk. A teaspoon of superfine granulated sugar. A sip. And p...