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The roar of the brook in the glen
With delight as it stood,
That only said, Live and rejoice?
But made us all feeling and voice? When we went with the winds in their blowing,
When Nature and we were peers,
Of the inexhaustible years ?
All I feel and I know?
An odour from Dreamland sent, That makes the ghost seem nigh me
Of a splendour that came and went,
In what diviner sphere,
That cannot forget or reclaim it,
To make it a show,
For others to know,
Long ago !
This life that stirs in my brain,
As I seem to have been, once again,
That baffles and lures me so,
The world should not lack a poet,
Such as it had
It mounts athwart the windy hill
Through sallow slopes of upland bare, And Fancy climbs with foot-fall still
Its narrowing curves that end in air. By day, a warmer-hearted blue
Stoops softly to that topmost swell ; Its thread-like windings seem a clew
To gracious climes where all is well, By night, far yonder, I surmise
An ampler world than clips my ken,
Commingle nobler fates of men.
Still master of my secret rare ;
But now it leads me everywhere. For ever to the new it guides,
From former good, old overmuch ; What Nature for her poets hides,
'Tis wiser to divine than clutch. The bird I list hath never come
Within the scope of mortal ear; My prying step would make him dumb,
And the fair tree, his shelter, sear. Behind the hill, behind the sky,
Behind my inmost thought, he sings; No feet avail ; to hear it nigh,
The song itself must lend the wings. Sing on, sweet bird close hid, and raise
Those angel stairways in my brain, That climb from these low-vaulted days
To spacious sunshines far from pain. Sing when thou wilt, enchantment fleet,
I leave thy covert haunt untrod,
And envy Science not her feat
To make a twice-told tale of God. They said the fairies tript no more,
And long ago that Pan was dead; 'Twas but that fools preferred to bore
Earth's rind inch-deep for truth instead. Pan leaps and pipes all summer long,
The fairies dance each full-mooned night, Would we but doff our lenses strong,
And trust our wiser eyes' delight. City of Elf-land, just without
Our seeing, marvel ever new, Glimpsed in fair weather, a sweet doubt
Sketched-in, mirage-like, on the blue. I build thee in yon sunset cloud,
Whose edge allures to climb the height; I hear thy drowned bells, inly-loud,
From still pulls dusk with dreams night. Thy gates are shut to hardiest will,
Thy countersign of long-lost speech, Those fountained courts, those chambers still,
Fronting Time's far East, who shall reach? I know not and will never pry,
But trust our human heart for all;
Into an open sense may fall.
The password of the unwary elves;
Unsought, they whisper it themselves.
POEMS OF THE WAR.
THE WASHERS OF THE SHROUD.
OCTOBER, 1861. ALONG a river-side, I know not where, I walked one night in mystery of dream; A chill creeps curdling yet beneath my hair, To think what chanced me by the pallid gleam Of a moon-wraith that waned through haunted air. Pale fireflies pulsed within the meadow-mist Their halos, wavering thistledowns of light : The loon, that seemed to mock some goblin tryst, Laughed ; and the echoes, huddling in affright, Like Odin's hounds, fled baying down the night. Then all was silent, till there smote my ear A movement in the stream that checked my breath : Was it the slow plash of a wading deer? But something said, “ This water is of Death ! The Sisters wash a shroud,-ill thing to hear !” I, looking then, beheld the ancient Three Known to the Greek's and to the Northman's creed, That sit in shadow of the Mystic Tree, Still crooning, as they weave their endless brede, One song : "Time was, Time is, and Time shall be.” No wrinkled crones were they, as I had deemed, But fair as yesterday, to-day, to-morrow, To mourner, lover, poet, ever seemed ; Something too high for joy, too deep for sorrow, Thrilled in their tones, and from their faces gleamed. “Still men and nations reap as they have strawn,” So sang they, working at their task the while; “The fatal raiment must be cleansed ere dawn : For Austria ? Italy? the Sea-Queen's isle ? O’er what quenched grandeur must our shroud be drawn?
“ Or is it for a younger, fairer corse,