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Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Birds of Passage

II

OLYMPUS.

HERMES (putting on his sandals.)
Much must he toil who serves the Immortal Gods,
And I, who am their herald, most of all.
No rest have I, nor respite.  I no sooner
Unclasp the winged sandals from my feet,
Than I again must clasp them, and depart
Upon some foolish errand.  But to-day
The errand is not foolish.  Never yet
With greater joy did I obey the summons
That sends me earthward.  I will fly so swiftly
That my caduceus in the whistling air
Shall make a sound like the Pandaean pipes,
Cheating the shepherds; for to-day I go,
Commissioned by high-thundering Zeus, to lead
A maiden to Prometheus, in his tower,
And by my cunning arguments persuade him
To marry her.  What mischief lies concealed
In this design I know not; but I know
Who thinks of marrying hath already taken
One step upon the road to penitence.
Such embassies delight me.  Forth I launch
On the sustaining air, nor fear to fall
Like Icarus, nor swerve aside like him
Who drove amiss Hyperion's fiery steeds.
I sink, I fly! The yielding element
Folds itself round about me like an arm,
And holds me as a mother holds her child.