THEY TOLD ME
They told me Pan was dead, but I Oft marvelled who it was that sangDown the green valleys languidly Where the grey elder-thickets hang.
Sometimes I thought it was a bird My soul had charged with sorcery;Sometimes it seemed my own heart heard Inland the sorrow of the sea.
But even where the primrose sets The seal of her pale loveliness,I found amid the violets Tears of an antique bitterness.SORCERY
"What voice is that I hear Crying across the pool?""It is the voice of Pan you hear,Crying his sorceries shrill and clear, In the twilight dim and cool."
"What song is it he sings, Echoing from afar;While the sweet swallow bends her wings,Filling the air with twitterings, Beneath the brightening star?"
The woodman answered me, His faggot on his back:—"Seek not the face of Pan to see;Flee from his clear note summoning thee To darkness deep and black!"
"He dwells in thickest shade, Piping his notes forlornOf sorrow never to be allayed;Turn from his coverts sad Of twilight unto morn!"
The woodman passed away Along the forest path;His ax shone keen and greyIn the last beams of day: And all was still as death:—
Only Pan singing sweet Out of Earth's fragrant shade;I dreamed his eyes to meet,And found but shadow laid Before my tired feet.
Comes no more dawn to me, Nor bird of open skies.Only his woods' deep gloom I see Till, at the end of all, shall rise,Afar and tranquilly,Death's stretching sea.THE CHILDREN OF STARE
Winter is fallen early On the house of Stare;Birds in reverberating flocks Haunt its ancestral box; Bright are the plenteous berries In clusters in the air.
Still is the fountain's music, The dark pool icy still,Whereupon a small and sanguine sun Floats in a mirror on, Into a West of crimson, From a South of daffodil.
'Tis strange to see young children In such a wintry house;Like rabbits' on the frozen snow Their tell-tale footprints go; Their laughter rings like timbrels 'Neath evening ominous:
Their small and heightened faces Like wine-red winter buds;Their frolic bodies gentle as Flakes in the air that pass, Frail as the twirling petal From the briar of the woods.
Above them silence lours, Still as an arctic sea;Light fails; night falls; the wintry moon Glitters; the crocus soon Will ope grey and distracted On earth's austerity:
Thick mystery, wild peril, Law like an iron rod:—Yet sport they on in Spring's attire, Each with his tiny fire Blown to a core of ardour By the awful breath of God.AGE
This ugly old crone—Every beauty she hadWhen a maid, when a maid.Her beautiful eyes,Too youthful, too wise,Seemed ever to comeTo so lightless a home,Cold and dull as a stone.And her cheeks—who would guessCheeks cadaverous as thisOnce with colours were gayAs the flower on its spray?Who would ever believeAught could bring one to grieveSo much as to makeLips bent for love's sakeSo thin and so grey...?