The wind it sang in the pine-tops, it sang like a
The smell of the sun on the bracken was wonderful sweet and sharp.
As sharp as the piney needles, as sweet as the gods were good,
For the wind it sung of the old gods, as I came through the wood!
It sung how long ago the Romans made a road,
And the gods came up from Italy and found them an abode.
It sang of the wayside altars (the pine-tops sighed
like the surf),
Of little shrines uplifted, of stone and scented turf,
Of youths divine and immortal, of maids as white as the snow
That glimmered among the thickets a mort of years ago!
All in the cool of dawn, all in the twilight gray,
The gods came up from Italy along the Roman way.
The altar smoke it has drifted and faded afar on the
No wood-nymphs haunt the hollows; the reedy pipes are still;
No more the youth Apollo shall walk in his sunshine clear;
No more the maid Diana shall follow the fallow-deer
(The woodmen grew so wise, the woodmen grew so old,
The gods went back to Italy—or so the story’s told!).
But the woods are full of voices and of shy and secret
The badger down by the brook-side, the flick of a woodcock’s wings,
The plump of a falling fir-cone, the pop of the sunripe pods,
And the wind that sings in the pine-tops the song of the ancient gods—
The song of the wind that says the Romans made a road,
And the gods came up from Italy and found them an abode!
O Sister Nymphs, how shall we dance or sing
What was and is not? How sing any more
Now Aphrodite’s rosy reign is o’er?
For on the forest-floor
Our feet fall wearily the summer long,
The whole year long:
No sudden goddess through the rushes glides,
No eager God among the laurels hides;
Jove’s eagle mopes beside an empty throne,
Persephone and Ades sit alone,
By Lethe’s hollow shore.
And hear not any more
Echoed from poplar-tree to poplar-tree,
The voice of Orpheus making sweetest moan
For lost Eurydice.
The Fates walk all alone
In empty kingdoms, where is none to fear
Shaking of any spear.
Even the ghosts are gone
From lightless fields of mint and euphrasy:
There sings no wind in any willow-tree,
And shadowy flute-girls wander listlessly
Down to the shore where Charon’s empty boat,
As shadowed swan doth float,
Rides all as listlessly, with none to steer.
A shrunken stream is Lethe’s water wan
Unsought of any man:
Grass Ceres sowed by alien hands is mown,
And now she seeks Persephone alone.
The gods have all gone up Olympus’ hill,
And all the songs are still
Of grieving Dryads, left
To wail about our woodland ways, bereft,
The endless summertide.
Queen Venus draws aside
And passes, sighing, up Olympus’ hill.