“When should the young be fledged and with them
Where costly day drops down in crimson light?
(Fortunate countries of the firefly
Swarm with blue diamonds all the sultry night,
“And the immortal moon takes turn with them.)
When should they pass again by that red land,
Where lovely mirage works a broidered hem
To fringe with phantom-palms a robe of sand?
“When should they dip their breasts again and
In slumberous azure pools, clear as the air,
Where rosy-winged flamingoes fish all day,
Stalking amid the lotus blossom fair?
“Then, over podded tamarinds bear their flight,
While cassias blossom in the zone of calms,
And so betake them to a south sea-bight,
To gossip in the crowns of cocoa-palms
“Whose roots are in the spray. O, haply
Some dawn, white-winged they might chance to find
A frigate standing in to make more fair
The loneliness unaltered of mankind.
“A frigate come to water: nuts would fall,
And nimble feet would climb the flower-flushed strand,
While northern talk would ring, and there withal
The martins would desire the cool north land.
“And all would be as it had been before;
Again at eve there would be news to tell;
Who passed should hear them chant it o’er and o’er,
Gossip, how wags the world?’ ‘Well, gossip, well.’”
A POET IN HIS YOUTH, AND THE CUCKOO-BIRD.
Once upon a time, I lay
Fast asleep at dawn of day;
Windows open to the south,
Fancy pouting her sweet mouth
To my ear.
She turned a globe
In her slender hand, her robe
Was all spangled; and she said,
As she sat at my bed’s head,
“Poet, poet, what, asleep!
Look! the ray runs up the steep
To your roof.” Then in the golden
Essence of romances olden,
Bathed she my entranced heart.
And she gave a hand to me,
Drew me onward, “Come!” said she;
And she moved with me apart,
Down the lovely vale of Leisure.
Such its name was, I heard say,
For some Fairies trooped that way;
Common people of the place,
Taking their accustomed pleasure,
(All the clocks being stopped) to race
Down the slope on palfreys fleet.
Bridle bells made tinkling sweet;
And they said, “What signified
Faring home till eventide:
There were pies on every shelf,
And the bread would bake itself.”
But for that I cared not, fed,
As it were, with angels’ bread,
Sweet as honey; yet next day
All foredoomed to melt away;
Gone before the sun waxed hot,
Melted manna that was not.
Rock-doves’ poetry of plaint,
Or the starling’s courtship quaint,
Heart made much of; ’twas a boon
Won from silence, and too soon
Wasted in the ample air:
Building rooks far distant were.
Scarce at all would speak the rills,
And I saw the idle hills,
In their amber hazes deep,
Fold themselves and go to sleep,
Though it was not yet high noon.