Softly the April air above
Rustled the woodland homes of love:
Softly the April air below
Carried the dream of buds that blow.
“Is he that bears a
To shun the pointless stroke of shame?
Will he that propped a trembling throne
Not stand for right when right’s his own?
“Your oath on the four
What oath can bind resolves unborn?
You lose that far eternal life?
Is it yours to lose? Is it child and wife?
But now beyond the pathway’s bend,
Sir Alain saw the forest end,
And winding wide beneath the hill,
The glassy river lone and still.
And now he saw with lifted eyes
The East like a great chancel rise,
And deep through all his senses drawn,
Received the sacred wine of dawn.
He set his face to the stream below,
He drew his axe from the saddle bow:
“Farewell, Messire, the night is sped;
There lies the ford, when all is said”
When I thy lover first
Shook out my canvas free
And like a pirate burst
Into that dreaming sea,
The land knew no such thirst
As then tormented me.
Now when at eve returned
I near that shore divine,
Where once but watch-fires burned
I see thy beacon shine,
And know the land hath learned
Desire that welcomes mine.
When late I watched the arrows of the sleet
Against the windows of the Tavern beat,
I heard a Rose that murmured from her Pot:
“Why trudge thy fellows yonder in the Street?
“Before the phantom of False Morning dies,
Choked in the bitter Net that binds the skies,
Their feet, bemired with Yesterday, set out
For the dark alleys where To-morrow lies.
“Think you, when all their petals they have
And all the fragrances of Life confused,
That Night with sweeter rest will comfort these
Than us, who still within the Garden mused?
“Think you the Gold they fight for all day long
Is worth the frugal Peace their clamours wrong?
Their Titles, and the Name they toil to build—–
Will they outlast the echoes of our Song?”
O Sons of Omar, what shall be the close
Seek not to know, for no man living knows:
But while within your hands the Wine is set
Drink ye—to Omar and the Dreaming Rose!
Among the woods and tillage
That fringe the topmost downs,
All lonely lies the village,
Far off from seas and towns.
Yet when her own folk slumbered
I heard within her street
Murmur of men unnumbered
And march of myriad feet.