Out of the silent wood,
As if from the closing door
Of another world and another lovelier mood,
Hear’st thou the hermit pour—
So sweet! so magical!—
His golden music, ghostly beautiful.
For three whole days across the sky,
In sullen packs that loomed and broke,
With flying fringes dim as smoke,
The columns of the rain went by;
At every hour the wind awoke;
The darkness passed upon the plain;
The great drops rattled at the pane.
Now piped the wind, or far aloof
Fell to a sough remote and dull;
And all night long with rush and lull
The rain kept drumming on the roof:
I heard till ear and sense were full
The clash or silence of the leaves,
The gurgle in the creaking eaves.
But when the fourth day came—at noon,
The darkness and the rain were by;
The sunward roofs were steaming dry;
And all the world was flecked and strewn
With shadows from a fleecy sky.
The haymakers were forth and gone,
And every rillet laughed and shone.
Then, too, on me that loved so well
The world, despairing in her blight,
Uplifted with her least delight,
On me, as on the earth, there fell
New happiness of mirth and might;
I strode the valleys pied and still;
I climbed upon the breezy hill.
I watched the gray hawk wheel and drop,
Sole shadow on the shining world;
I saw the mountains clothed and curled,
With forest ruffling to the top;
I saw the river’s length unfurled,
Pale silver down the fruited plain,
Grown great and stately with the rain.
Through miles of shadow and soft heat,
Where field and fallow, fence and tree,
Were all one world of greenery,
I heard the robin ringing sweet,
The sparrow piping silverly,
The thrushes at the forest’s hem;
And as I went I sang with them.
With a turn of his magical rod,
That extended and suddenly shone,
From the round of his glory some god
Looks forth and is gone.
To the summit of heaven the clouds
Are rolling aloft like steam;
There’s a break in their infinite shrouds,
And below it a gleam.
O’er the drift of the river a whiff
Comes out from the blossoming shore;
And the meadows are greening, as if
They never were green before.
The islands are kindled with gold
And russet and emerald dye;
And the interval waters outrolled
Are more blue than the sky.
From my feet to the heart of the hills
The spirits of May intervene,
And a vapor of azure distills
Like a breath on the opaline green.
Only a moment!—and then
The chill and the shadow decline,
On the eyes of rejuvenate men
That were wide and divine.