weariness, and softly round
    My human sorrow her white arms wound.
    We galloped; now a hornless deer
    Passed by us, chased by a phantom hound
    All pearly white, save one red ear;
    And now a lady rode like the wind
    With an apple of gold in her tossing hand;
    And a beautiful young man followed behind
    With quenchless gaze and fluttering hair.
    ‘Were these two born in the Danaan land,
    Or have they breathed the mortal air?’
    ‘Vex them no longer,’ Niamh said,
    And sighing bowed her gentle head,
    And sighing laid the pearly tip
    Of one long finger on my lip.
    But now the moon like a white rose shone
    In the pale west, and the sun’s rim sank,
    And clouds arrayed their rank on rank
    About his fading crimson ball:
    The floor of Almhuin’s hosting hall
    Was not more level than the sea,
    As, full of loving fantasy,
    And with low murmurs, we rode on,
    Where many a trumpet-twisted shell
    That in immortal silence sleeps
    Dreaming of her own melting hues,
    Her golds, her ambers, and her blues,
    Pierced with soft light the shallowing deeps.
    But now a wandering land breeze came
    And a far sound of feathery quires;
    It seemed to blow from the dying flame,
    They seemed to sing in the smouldering fires.
    The horse towards the music raced,
    Neighing along the lifeless waste;
    Like sooty fingers, many a tree
    Rose ever out of the warm sea;
    And they were trembling ceaselessly,
    As though they all were beating time,
    Upon the centre of the sun,
    To that low laughing woodland rhyme.
    And, now our wandering hours were done,
    We cantered to the shore, and knew
    The reason of the trembling trees:
    Round every branch the song-birds flew,
    Or clung thereon like swarming bees;
    While round the shore a million stood
    Like drops of frozen rainbow light,
    And pondered in a soft vain mood
    Upon their shadows in the tide,
    And told the purple deeps their pride,
    And murmured snatches of delight;
    And on the shores were many boats
    With bending sterns and bending bows,
    And carven figures on their prows
    Of bitterns, and fish-eating stoats,
    And swans with their exultant throats:
    And where the wood and waters meet
    We tied the horse in a leafy clump,
    And Niamh blew three merry notes
    Out of a little silver trump;
    And then an answering whispering flew
    Over the bare and woody land,
    A whisper of impetuous feet,
    And ever nearer, nearer grew;
    And from the woods rushed out a band
    Of men and ladies, hand in hand,
    And singing, singing all together;
    Their brows were white as fragrant milk,
    Their cloaks made out of yellow silk,
    And trimmed with many a crimson feather;
    And when they saw the cloak I wore
    Was dim with mire of a mortal shore,
    They fingered it and gazed on me
    And laughed like murmurs of the sea;
    But Niamh with a swift distress
    Bid them away and hold their peace;
    And when they heard her voice they ran
    And knelt there, every girl and man,
    And kissed, as they would never cease,
    Her pearl-pale hand and the hem of her dress.
    She bade them bring us to the hall
    Where Aengus dreams, from sun to sun,
    A Druid dream of the end of days
    When the stars are to wane and the world be done.
    They led us by long and shadowy ways
    Where drops of dew in myriads fall,
    And tangled creepers every hour
    Blossom in some new crimson flower,
    And once a sudden laughter sprang
    From all their lips, and once they sang
    Together, while the dark woods rang,
    And made in all their distant parts,
    With boom of bees in honey-marts,
    A rumour of delighted hearts.
    And once a lady by my side
    Gave me a harp, and bid me sing,
    And touch the laughing silver string;
    But when I sang of human joy
    A sorrow wrapped each merry face,
    And, Patrick! by your beard, they wept,
    Until one came, a tearful boy;
    ‘A sadder creature never stept
    Than this strange human bard,’ he cried;
    And caught the silver harp away,
    And, weeping over the white strings, hurled
    It down in a leaf-hid, hollow place
    That kept dim waters from the sky;
    And each one said, with a long, long sigh,
    ‘O saddest harp in all the world,
    Sleep there till the moon and the stars die!’
    And now, still sad, we came to where
    A beautiful young man dreamed within
    A house of wattles, clay, and skin;
    One hand upheld his beardless chin,
    And one a sceptre flashing out
    Wild flames of red and gold and blue,
    Like to a merry wandering rout
    Of dancers leaping in the air;
    And men and ladies knelt them there
    And showed their eyes with teardrops dim,
    And with low murmurs prayed to him,
    And kissed the sceptre with red lips,
    And touched it with their finger-tips.
    He held that flashing sceptre up.
    ‘Joy drowns the twilight in the dew,
    And fills with stars night’s purple cup,
    And wakes the sluggard seeds of corn,
    And stirs the young kid’s budding horn,
    And makes the infant ferns unwrap,
    And for the peewit paints his cap,
    And rolls along the unwieldy sun,
    And makes the little planets run:
    And if joy were not on the earth,
    There were an end of change and birth,
    And Earth and Heaven and Hell would die,
    And in some gloomy barrow lie
    Folded like a frozen fly;
    Then mock at Death and Time with glances
    And wavering arms and wandering dances.
    ‘Men’s hearts of old were drops of flame
    That from the saffron morning came,
    Or drops of silver joy that fell
    Out of the moon’s pale twisted shell;
    But now hearts cry that hearts are slaves,
    And toss and turn in narrow caves;
    But here there is nor law nor rule,
    Nor have hands held a weary tool;
    And here there is nor Change nor Death,
    But only kind and

  By PanEris using Melati.

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