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George Santayana

1863–1952

George Santayana was a philosopher, critic, essayist, novelist, and poet. He received his PhD from Harvard, where he taught Conrad Aiken, T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, and Wallace Stevens. In 1912, Santayana moved to Europe and never returned to the United States. He died in 1952.

By This Poet

2

There may be chaos still around the world

There may be chaos still around the world,
This little world that in my thinking lies;
For mine own bosom is the paradise
Where all my life’s fair visions are unfurled.
Within my nature’s shell I slumber curled,
Unmindful of the changing outer skies,
Where now, perchance, some new-born Eros flies,
Or some old Cronos from his throne is hurled.
I heed them not; or if the subtle night
Haunt me with deities I never saw,
I soon mine eyelid’s drowsy curtain draw
To hide their myriad faces from my sight.
They threat in vain; the whirlwind cannot awe
A happy snow-flake dancing in the flaw.

Sonnet XLIV [For Thee the Sun Doth Daily Rise, and Set]

For thee the sun doth daily rise, and set
Behind the curtain of the hills of sleep, 
And my soul, passing through the nether deep, 
Broods on thy love, and never can forget. 
For thee the garlands of the wood are wet, 
For thee the daisies up the meadow’s sweep
Stir in the sidelong light, and for thee weep
The drooping ferns above the violet. 
For thee the labour of my studious ease
I ply with hope, for thee all pleasures please, 
Thy sweetness doth the bread of sorrow leaven; 
And from thy noble lips and heart of gold
I drink the comfort of the faiths of old, 
Any thy perfection is my proof of heaven.