Stagnant this wintry gloom. Afar
The farm-cock bugles his " Qui vive? "
The towering elms are lost in mist;
Birds in the thorn-trees huddle a-whist;
The mill-race waters grieve.
Our shrouded day
Dwindles away
To final black of eve.

Beyond these shades in space of air
Ride exterrestrial beings by?
Their colours burning rich and fair,
Where noon's sunned valleys lie?
With inaudible music are they sweet —
Bell, hoof, soft lapsing cry?

Turn marvellous faces, each to each? —
Lips innocent of sigh,
Or groan or fear, sorrow and grief,
Clear brow and falcon eye;
Bare foot, bare shoulder in the heat,
And hair like flax? Do their horses beat
Their way through wildernesses infinite
Of starry-crested trees, blue sward,
And gold-chasm'd mountain, steeply shored
O'er lakes of sapphire dye?

Mingled with lisping speech, faint laughter,
Echoes the Phoenix' scream of joyance
Mounting on high? —
Light-bathed vistas and divine sweet mirth,
Beyond dream of spirits penned to earth,
Condemned to pine and die? ...
Hath serving Nature, bidden of the gods,
Thick-screened Man's narrow sky,
And hung these Stygian veils of fog
To hide his dingied sty? —
The gods who yet, at mortal birth,
Bequeathed him Fantasy?
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