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Who, surviving all that chancëd
In the world's old pagan wrong,

Lay hid, feeding in the woodland on the last true poet's song?

Or was this the house of fairies,
Left, because of the rough ways,
Unassoiled by Ave Marys

Which the passing pilgrim prays,

And beyond St. Catherine's chiming on the blessed Sabbath days?

So, young muser, I sat listening

To my fancy's wildest word:

On a sudden, through the glistening

Leaves around, a little stirred,

Came a sound, a sense of music which was rather felt than heard.

Softly, finely, it enwound me;
From the world it shut me in,—
Like a fountain falling round me,

Which with silver waters thin

Clips a little water Naiad sitting smilingly within.

Whence the music came, who knoweth?

I know nothing: but indeed

Pan or Faunus never bloweth

So much sweetness from a reed

Which has sucked the milk of waters at the oldest river


Never lark the sun can waken

With such sweetness! when the lark,

The high planets overtaking

In the half-evanished Dark,

Casts his singing to their singing, like an arrow to the mark.

Never nightingale so singeth :
Oh, she leans on thorny tree

And her poet-song she flingeth

Over pain to victory!

Yet she never sings such music,-or she sings it not to


Never blackbirds, never thrushes
Nor small finches sing so sweet,

When the sun strikes through the bushes

To their crimson clinging feet,

And their pretty eyes look sideways to the summer heavens complete.

If it were a bird, it seemëd

Most like Chaucer's, which, in sooth,

He of green and azure dreamëd,

While it sat in spirit-ruth

On that bier of a crowned lady, singing nigh her silent mouth.

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Though my soul were nympholeptic

As I heard that virëlay,

You may stoop your pride to pardon, for my sin is far away!

I rose up in exaltation

And an inward trembling heat,

And (it seemed) in geste of passion

Dropped the music to my feet

Like a garment rustling downwards-such a silence

followed it!

Heart and head beat through the quiet

Full and heavily, though slower :

In the song, I think, and by it,

Mystic Presences of power

Had up-snatched me to the Timeless, then returned me to the Hour.

In a child-abstraction lifted,
Straightway from the bower I past,
Foot and soul being dimly drifted
Through the greenwood, till, at last,

In the hill-top's open sunshine I all consciously was


Face to face with the true mountains

I stood silently and still,

Drawing strength from fancy's dauntings,

From the air about the hill,

And from Nature's open mercies and most debonair goodwill.

Oh, the golden-hearted daisies
Witnessed there, before my youth,

To the truth of things, with praises
Of the beauty of the truth;

And I woke to Nature's real, laughing joyfully for both.

And I said within me, laughing,
"I have found a bower to-day,
A green lusus, fashioned half in

Chance and half in Nature's play;

And a little bird sings nigh it, I will nevermore missay.

"Henceforth, I will be the fairy

Of this bower not built by one;
I will go there, sad or merry,

With each morning's benison,

And the bird shall be my harper in the dream-hall I have


So I said. But the next morning,
(—Child, look up into my face-

'Ware, oh sceptic, of your scorning!
This is truth in its pure grace!)

The next morning all had vanished, or my wandering missed the place.

Bring an oath most sylvan-holy,
And upon it swear me true—

By the wind-bells swinging slowly

Their mute curfews in the dew,

By the advent of the snow-drop, by the rosemary and


I affirm by all or any,

Let the cause be charm or chance,

That my wandering searches many
Missed the bower of my romance-

That I nevermore upon it turned my mortal countenance.

I affirm that, since I lost it,
Never bower has seemed so fair;

Never garden-creeper crossed it

With so deft and brave an air,

Never bird sung in the summer, as I saw and heard them there.

Day by day, with new desire,

Toward my wood I ran in faith,

Under leaf and over brier,

Through the thickets, out of breath;

Like the prince who rescued Beauty from the sleep as long as death.

But his sword of mettle clashëd,
And his arm smote strong, I ween,

And her dreaming spirit flashëd

Through her body's fair white screen,

And the light thereof might guide him up the cedar alleys green:

But for me I saw no splendour-
All my sword was my child-heart;
And the wood refused surrender
Of that bower it held apart,

Safe as Edipus's grave-place 'mid Colone's olives swart.

As Aladdin sought the basements
His fair palace rose upon,

And the four-and-twenty casements

Which gave answers to the sun;

So, in wilderment of gazing, I looked up and I looked


Years have vanished since, as wholly

As the little bower did then ;

And you call it tender folly

That such thoughts should come again?

Ah, I cannot change this sighing for your smiling, brother


For this loss it did prefigure

Other loss of better good,

When my soul, in spirit vigour

And in ripened womanhood,

Fell from visions of more beauty than an arbour in a wood.

I have lost-oh, many a pleasure,
Many a hope and many a power-
Studious health and merry leisure,

The first dew on the first flower!

But the first of all my losses was the losing of the bower.

I have lost the dream of Doing,

And the other dream of Done,

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