IT mounts athwart the windy hill,
Through sallow slopes of upland bare,
And Fancy climbs with footfall still
Its narrowing curves that end in air.
By day, a warmer-hearted blue
Stoops softly to that topmost swell
Whence the mind drinks imagined view
Of gracious climes where all is well.
By night, far yonder, I surmise
An ampler world than clips my ken,
Where the great stars of happier skies
Commingle nobler fates of men.
I look and long, then haste me home,
Still master of my secret rare ;
Once tried, the path would end in Rome,
But now it leads me everywhere.
Forever to the new it guides,
From former good, old overmuch ;
What Nature for her poets hides,
’T is wiser to divine than clutch.
The bird I list hath never come
Within the scope of mortal ear;
My prying step would make him dumb,
And the fair tree, his shelter, sere.
Behind the hill, behind the sky.
Behind my inmost thought, he sings;
No feet avail: to hear it nigh,
The song itself must lend the wings.
Sing on, sweet bird, close-hid, and raise
Those angel-stairways in my brain,
That climb from our diminished days,
To spacious sunshines far from pain.
Sing when thou wilt, enchantment fleet,
I leave thy covert haunt untrod,
And envy Science not her feat
To make a twice-told tale of God.
They said the fairies tript no more,
And long ago that Pan was dead;
'T' was but that fools preferred to bore
Earth ’s rind inch-deep for truth instead.
Pan leaps and pipes all summer long,
The fairies dance each full-mooned night,
Would we but doff our lenses strong,
And trust our wiser eyes’ delight.
City of Elf-land, just without
Our seeing, marvel ever new,
Glimpsed in fair weather, a sweet doubt,
Sketched-in, mirage-like, on the blue,
I build thee in yon sunset cloud,
Whose edge allures to climb the height;
I hear thy drowned bells, inly-loud,
From still pools dusk with dreams of night.
Thy gates are shut to hardiest will,
The countersign of long-lost speech, —
Those fountained courts, those chambers still
Fronting Time’s far East, who shall reach?
I know not and will never pry,
But trust our human heart for all ;
Wonders that from the seeker fly,
Into an open sense may fall.
Hide in thine own soul, and surprise
The password of the unwary elves ;
Seek it, thou canst not bribe their spies ;
Unsought, they whisper it themselves.