Fancy or Fact?

IN town I hear, scarce wakened yet,
My neighbor’s clock behind the wall
Record the day’s increasing debt,
And Cuckoo ! Cuckoo ! faintly call.
Our senses run in deepening grooves,
Thrown out of which they lose their tact,
And consciousness with effort moves
From habit past to present fact.
So, in the country waked to-day,
I hear, unwitting of the change,
A cuckoo’s throb from far away
Begin to strike, nor think it strange.
The sound creates its wonted frame:
My bed at home, the songster hid
Behind the wainscoting, — all came
As long association bid.
I count to learn how late it is,
Until, arrived at thirty-four,
I question, “ What strange world is this
Whose lavish hours would make me poor ? ”
Cuckoo! Cuckoo ! Still on it went
With hints of mockery in its tone ;
How could such hoards of time be spent
By one poor mortal’s wit alone ?
I have it! Grant, ye kindly Powers,
I from this spot may never stir,
If only these uncounted hours
May pass, and seem too short, with Her!
But who She is, her form and face,
These to the world of dream belong;
She moves through fancy’s visioned space,
Unbodied, like the cuckoo’s song.
James Russell Lowell.
  1. Copyright, 1887, by JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL. All rights reserved.