Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SNOWBELL; A LEGEND OF SUMMER, by ELIZA KEARY



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SNOWBELL; A LEGEND OF SUMMER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In july, when the year has eaten deep
Last Line: So, we go, in amaze.
Subject(s): Summer


IN July, when the year has eaten deep
Into the breast of summer, when the hours creep
Slowly, in a kind of drunken sleep,
Over each other, they're so satisfied
With the luxury, the tenderness, and the pride
Of the great time -- when the air is all
Light and heat, even without sunshine --
When the green of the earth and the blue sky incline
Each to each, the trees
Drinking deep of heaven, and the sky taking shade from these --
When birds begin to hush
Their singing in tree and bush --
When the rose's blush pales by the flush
Of the ripe geraniums -- when the mountain ashberries
Are growing red like cherries,
The petals of the large white lily yellowed over with down,
From its own self overblown --
When fruits are sweetening and corn ripening,
All at full height, toppling over, swaying
Between blooming and decaying;
A mystery, a sort of chasm between
Pleasures, crosses, treasures, losses,
Joy and sorrow, yesterday and to-morrow --
This is the dim land of no-being, the quaint, sweet land
Of spirit, fairy, dreaming, ruled by the wand
Of a wild power seated firm on either hand,
Whom yet we neither see, nor understand.
Look what I have found, here upon fairy-ground,
Written in cabalistic letters all over the daisies!
Who will thread the mazes
Of the mix'd words, interwoven phrases,
Fairy writ? Quiet thrush up there,
And you, O all beasts, fishes, birds in earth, sea, or air,
Listen to the fairy history of Snowbell, the most fair.

A little babe, who, on a winter's night,
Snow-white and softly falling as new snow,
On her queen mother's pillow did alight;
There lying rare,
And spotless fair,
All fairy-wise bedight.

Hush! for the soft knell
Is ringing over the snow,
Ringing for the mother to go --
Snowbell, Snowbell!

Growing through spring to summer, first a child,
Delicate, wild
Fragrance of heaven, like what snowdrops hold
Hidden in the pure swell of their bosoms cold,
As they foretell the lily;
Then, slipping through
Her bud-life, fair and fairer grew.

She walks white amongst the lilies,
Her hair floats wide upon the quivering air;
She dons the sunlight for a crown, to bear it
Only; there is none to share it,
Yet she stoops to wear it.

She is our purity, say the lilies, our sister, queen;
Do you see the little green
Branch of a tree there, tenderly
Tipping her shoulder?
By free airs made bolder,
Lo! its motions enfold her,
Snowbell, happy graces that hold her.

Look, the birds come hopping out of the wood
From the cool shade,
Stopping just in the flood
Of sunlight, cooing for Snowbell, queen-maid,
Watching her, catching her,
Wooing her through the green glade.

The wood dove curves his supple throat
For glee of her; the blackbird's note
Drops in a sweet surprise
Of love taught by her liquid eyes.
Swallows sail low,
With poised wing scanning her curiously.
Thrushes and linnets follow;
The skylark crouches nigh;
Pert robin trips forward daintily;
Whilst proudly at her side,
Through brake and tangled grasses,
The peacock drags his glory, heeding nought
But glory, straying wide as Snowbell passes.

Skirting the wood she goes,
Through the long morning hours,
Softly, to the awakening of the flowers.
See their delicate blooms unfolding,
In the dawn of her beholding!
Is she kissing yon wild white rose,
On the tips of its leaves, with her ruby lips
Stooping over them, pressing to gather
A sweetness? -- nay, but to give one rather,
That is the end of her caressing.
Such a large sweetness, lo! it slips over
The little frail petals, swelling so
That it crushes them flat; crush round it, cover
Your pearl rose -- No!
Then the rough earth shares it, daisies and clover,
And wild bees hover
About these to sip
The Rose-slip.

Blow, pure wind, from the meadow,
Blow near, blow far,
O sweet air of the meadow,
How magical sweet you are,
Is't with the breath of kine?
Rise, rise, from the low river side;
Blow wide
Wine of the lowland demon, rich and strong;
No! you belong
To Snowbell, this fair day,
For you are pure and sweet,
Because her feet incline your way.

Incline and pass
Over the emerald grass,
Feet, white, and soft, and fleet.
The large-eyed cattle watch her going
Adown the field to the magic hollow;
They love the pastures where they graze,
They move to gaze
Upon her face, to trace her ways.
Upheave slow limbs and follow,
Follow, follow her with gentle lowing.

To the hollow that dips
In a gap of the hill
That sits in the demon's lap --
The wide-mouthed hollow has misty lips,
It moves them to and fro;
They feel about, suck in, swell out, and blow
Little puffs of fog right off to the meadow.

Little loose mist-balls -- look, one, two,
Gracefully swimming; the sun looks through,
And they glitter, and shimmer, and dive, and pass
To the upland, skimming the flower of the grass.

By fifties, by hundreds, more and more,
Swelling out, crowding up from the demon's door.

Crouching and leaping and gliding.
Ah! one between her and the sun,
Snowbell, guiding
Fantastical motions such way
As to puzzle her day.
She is snatching it -- see --
The frail plaything, swaying it,
Bringing it close to the fair face,
Pressing her throat,
With fond touch delaying it,
Letting it float
Through the loose hair astray --
Now clutching its hiding-place,
Tossing it high,
Once, twice, and thrice rapidly.

Till, slidden in her breast unbidden,
It rests there,
She unaware,
Thinking it frolicked in the wide air.

So and so, adown the meadow
As the day grows, she goes
To the mouth of the hollow.

And lo! the misty lips move to and fro,
Glow, and quiver, and smile
Like a soft summer haze
To beguile
Her, Snowbell, who lingers awhile,
Whose eyes shine in amaze
As pile rises on pile
Of gold mist-wreaths,
The demon breathes.

Ay, stay the small feet.
She reaches her hands
Every side of her, fingering the mist where she stands,
That subtly spreads wide of her,
Mist that will swallow
Thee, sweet summer rose -- ah! drawn into the hollow.

Snowbell, Snowbell, O! what a clatter
The birds make, now they see what's the matter.
Snowbell, Snowbell!
"Is she gone?" "Hush." "Did you see her go?"
"No, but the robin did, or the thrush."
"I? Oh! no, no, no."
"Snowbell!" "Can nobody tell
Which way in the broad day? -- "
"Well, well, well."
So, snatching the half-notes
Out of each other"s throats
Before the sound can flow,
Clamouring and stammering they go,
Just in the fashion of their dawn-twilight chatter.

Now one by one the kine
Slow-paced come down,
And gentle-faced incline
Their eyes into the mist,
With no surprise that it has sucked her in,
Yet do they seem to list
Some stir therein,
They deem may bode of her: what is't?

They hear and cannot tell,
Snowbell, and will not leave
The margin of her sight for whom they grieve,
The brink of their delight,
But sink adown and lie
I' the mist there drearily,
Like spectres large and grey,
Chewing for cud the golden fog alway.

But she, drawn in stealthily, stops
As the mist-curtain drops --
O magical hollow -- behind her,
And smiles as she sees the deep day, and wonders.
In thy heart the wise water,
That knows and can speak,
Lies asleep.
Almost her eyes' laughter
The silence doth break,
And she draws in her breath.
Is it death as she ponders,
Or swoon in the lap of the noon?
For asleep, and asleep, and asleep is the hollow.

In the charmed rest,
Her hair falling flat over shoulders and breast,
Hands prest each to each, hanging low,
Feet carest by the water's brim,
Innocent eyes looking in, a dim minute or so,
Snowbell unheeding,
How the wide, wild uncertain spirit time is speeding!

Noon that lingers,
Noon that flies,
Magic moments, mysteries,
Spirit fingers turn thy pages,
Book unwritten, midday, ages;
Spirits flitting through the leaves,
Unwitting of who joys or grieves;
Spirits wise and full of follies
To the brim;
Who shall lose and who shall win,
Skim the hour, or drown therein
At your whim?

Water singing.

"Snow is white,
Sunshine is sweet,
The sky is fair as violets are,
Snowbell has lilies for her feet,
She is fair and she is sweet,
And pure is night.
How soft the wing is of the dove,
And Spring is tender, what is love?
Deep as the seas,
Untold and millionfold, like worlds i' the height;
And she is love, and she is sweet and fairer far
Than these or anything, than all things are."

Sings the water, singing in sleep,
In a dream,
With a noise like the voice
Of some strange, hidden bird,
Dimly heard from afar,
Asleep, and the lisps of the sound,
Growing dimmer, creep wide round the rim;
Seem to die,
Lapse back from the brim;
Suck in to the heart, sweep out again, lie
On the crest; fade and swell,
Without rest, "Snowbell,"
In a dream.

Hours and hours -- Lo! she is weary,
Fallen beside the water, with her cheek upon it,
Her coral lips apart: she would have spoken,
But that sleep came upon her heavily,
And the intent was broken
Into sighing. Now and anon a little wondering sigh,
Hours upon hours in magic slumber lying.

Speak, gentle night winds,
Stir the grass;
Wake, move amongst her hair,
Creep sweet into her breast;
Yea, kiss her lips, and say,
"Snowbell, that wert most fair, this day
Thou hast no peer,"
Once, twice, and thrice upon her lips so dear.

Wind sings.

"Fresh as the eyes of the dew,
As the sea's white foam on its crest,
As the scent of the flowers I carry,
Wild thyme, and the bee-sipped lime,
Till I faint with the weight and tarry
Through the long, hot hours, as I rest
On the wings of the noon;
The outspread wings that quiver
From a heart whose life at the brim
Thrills every sense with emotion,
Till these reel and swim
With the life of the life intense,
Till motion vibrating ever
Seems to close in its own excess,
And the breath of delight touches death."

But she, O mad caress,
Who kissed the day with her smile,
Who drank of the mystic hour,
Who toyed with the guile of the demon's breath,
With the mist of the wile of his power;
Who carries the bulb in her breast,
The bright mist ball in a nest
Of innocent snow --

Now cold as marble lies,
As smooth and clear the cheek, and covered eyes,
In the arms of the wild will, still.
Is it well? Is it woe?
Snowbell.

Clear, softness of the midnight air,
All gentle sweeps o' the wind,
Lie down and die.
Dimness and any tenderness or mystery
That, with a nameless sound,
Crept in about the hollow from the sweet sunset,
Looking round and lingering, slink ye behind;
Go, leave a clear, hard place,
Moonlight shine strong upon her face,
Still in the chill night,
And mournful wise low laid.

What is it casts deep shade
Betwixt her and the skies,
Lo! shooting upwards, higher, higher?
A red soot flake out of the devil's fire, Ho!

Shaping a strange shape, I wis,
Whirling and changing alack!
A chariot flame-winged, living-wheeled on the track
Of her sleeping, drawn up close where she is.

See heavily and mournful wise,
Still sleeping as she lies,
Uplift is she;
Languidly on her breast
Clasped fingers rest,
Across the mist-ball magical;
Whilst fall
Her robes into the blackness of the air,
That drowns her yellow hair;
Now in the chariot laid,
Alas! fair maid.

Burn, turn, fiery tongues, lo! they shoot
Into traces, each flame from its root
At the chariot-head, stride
Devils' horses, that shake
The flakes of the night off wide
Into the blackness that clings.
Flame-wings plunge and sway,
Living wheels turn.
Away, what delay, chariot? Do you quake
At the weight of your freight,
At the wave of her sun-dipped hair,
At the weight of your fear of her fair?

But away and away
To the frozen country,
Swiftly. Hist! --
Till the night die pitifully for this,
That she hath slept away,
Till the sun, I wis,
Opening his door so bold,
To greet her, shall behold
Only a vanishing mist,
And a dewdrop or two upon his threshold.

Ha! the sharp air,
Snowbell, Snowbell!
"Where?" with a little sob, she cries; "come
All the long dream through here,
Into cold, clear, keen Ruggeddom?"

Up, up, alone,
Startled maid. Chariot gone --
Art afraid? But what fell
Over her elbow
On to the snow
Just now, as she propped herself from the ground
And looked round?

The mist, frozen tight,
Lying fair, smooth, and white
In the cold. Let it lie!
And, she gone, presently
Three passing by
Will hold on their way,
When "Surely," shall one say,
"Some God,
Building up there a world in the immense air,
Carelessly out of his hod
Let fall this sweet small stone."
And one --
"'Tis but a frozen flower!"
And one --
"Yea, give it me, be this pearl my life's dower."

So wistfully uprist, see,
Through the chill, sweet air, wide wanders her sweet will,
All lovingly the still,
Cold daylight taking
To that pure bosom at her lone awaking.

Which way shall her feet range?
East, west, or south, or north,
Who bids her forth?

Fair face prest slantways 'gainst the tremulous air,
Heart's flutter hushed -- what listeth she?
By white beams kist,
Over the long, low sweep of the snow?
Bells ringing merrily.

Ringing, ringing, ringing high
In the air with soft, wild joy,
To the arch of the sky;
Ringing tenderly down to the earth,
Yet silver-sweet, not wholly
Hushed with alloy;
Ringing crisply, sounding slowly,
Touching rim of melancholy
With the lip of mirth.

"Golden green, or changing white,
Crimsoning wine, chrysolite;
Blue of ocean, blue of fire,
Jasper, jacinth, sapphire,
Beryl, opal, chrysopras;
All emerald has
Come and pass;
Golden gold and glowing eyes,
Rest of meadows, depth of skies;
Changing water,
Wine of love, of woe, of laughter.
Chrysopras, golden green,
April leaflets sun between;
June coppice, frozen breath,
Is it sleep, or is it death?
Mimic rainbow, bleeding day,
Purple midnight, step of fay.
Over the mountains, brothers bold,
Beryl, chrysopras, moonlight cold."

Ringing, rippling over the plain,
Seven brother-dwarf-chimes, faltering, fain,
Dim towards the mountains, merrily, high,
Over the mountain-tops, hushed in the sky.
Over the mountains, where seven dwarfs dwell,
Come through the silver chimes, pretty Snowbell,
To the rock side of Ruggeddom well --

Up the jagged steps
To the snowed-ledge out from the grey,
With the stunt wide house on it, lo!
And the door ajar, brushing the snow.
Climbing up, creeping close, peering in, is she?
Is the fairy house empty?
Then come in,
One little foot in the doorway,
Over the threshold!
Be bold, ah! be bold, Snowbell! One, two!
The whimsical elf things can't hurt you.
Frisky, tricksy, elfish things!
A minute ago
They were all pranking, I know.
Look at the gnarled chair,
Standing a-cock there!
And the little kettle up in the air,
Hiding its wings, stops its hissings.
Seven quilts on the seven low beds,
Flopping up and down,
Twisting, turning over,
Making believe to cover
Their seven little brown
Master-dwarfs' heads.

See the rich gravy!
Fire-irons skipping;
Now all, craftily, as they are able,
Drawing close to fit places,
With a sort of hush
And surprise on their no-faces,
So to wipe out all traces
Of pleasantry,
Noiselessly,
If possible.

Till with a general sigh,
Inaudible, and a shy
Flutter of love unseen,
Their almost-hearts and no-hearts between,
For Snowbell, the natural fairies' queen.
Lo! each in silence stayed
Before her, fairest maid.

She just within,
Feet drawn together,
Wide eyes wondering;
Little chin
Lifted awry,
Suddenly
Wondering why she is wondering.

All is so simple and still,
Lying fair opened wide to her will --
The dwarfs' home, they gone,
And the long day before her to live there alone.

Seven stools there are, curled, malapert;
Each one touches she
With one finger carefully.
Do they hurt her? or why
Turns she timidly now, brushing by
Towards the chair
That stands empty, arms wide, all astare,
Resting there for an instant,
Still birdlike, now here, and now there,
With no content anywhere?

Until every one of these elfish things she has fingered,
Knows too
Down into the very heart of each what it is meant to do;
Understands, inly fluttering,
What the little sprites are muttering
Inside the very molecules of the wood,
Or the iron, or the tin,
They are shut in.
Sees the forms unseen,
Knows them all through and through,
For evil and for good,
Snowbell, the Elves'-queen.

Who, rearing her slim form up high
Presently, and lifting a little white finger,
"O all you whimsical
Furniture of the dwarfs' home,
I'm a white summer ray, come
To winter in Ruggeddom!
Will ye learn from me
To be graceful, and sweet, and orderly?"
Sayeth she.

And hark! from the room
What sounds come, mixed in one,
Sweet and heavy,
Wavering and strong,
Like the hum of a honey-bee,
Wandering along
From feast and from sip,
At the tip of content i' the hot sun!
One and many, many and one,
All the little elf things together
Murmuring in answer to her.

Ready to act daintily,
To be sweet and serviceable.
Lo! with motion swift or slow,
Moving gently to and fro,
Always at her notion.

Now, all being orderly, Snowbell,
Sitting in a nook of the room,
Looks out in the face of that quaint elf place,
Wondering how soon its dwarf masters will come
To sleep above ground, in their fay home;
How they will look, and what they will say,
Finding her there,
Speaking her rough, or speaking her fair.

Pondering, and anon
Singing little snatches of song
As the day wears along.
Now, peering in wonder
The low door under,
At the sunflushes over the snow;
As daylight slants low,
As daylight grows grey,
As the last glimmer blinks in the eyes of the day,
As the shadows all,
Great and small,
Fold themselves up and hide away behind the bushes.

Rain Song.

"Dropping down with the west wind;
Clattering, setting all the trees chattering;
Sliding swift to the tips of the leaves;
Peering about with bright, round eyes;
Hiding in cracks o' the ground;

Pattering all the dry stones over,
With a sound -- who grieves? There
Caught, do you see, by her long dripping hair,
In the tenderest branches of the trees;
Wet, all wet, from her feet to her knees;
Soaked to the arch of her head;
Tangled and tost in the arms that caught her;
Shattered with rain laughter!
Peep under the leaf-cover;
Swoop through, O west wind,
Sweep in asunder --
Upon a day, Fay Emerald."
Song of the rain.

Sun Song.

"Upon a day,
At her wheel,
Fay Emerald;
Gold-beams upon the grass floor,
Her door ajar into the land of dreams."
Song of the sun.

Water Song.

"Drip,
Creeping over the hard ground
Water-drop, lonely,
Meeting, kissing, running on in a hurry --
One, two, three,

With a little rush tumbling
Edgeover hundreds -- O so many!
Through the gorge grumbling,
Sweeping out free,
Overspreading the wide, low, reach placidly;
Heaven in the eye
Lapping the green --
Emerald, Emerald, ice-enthralled.
O, dead summer in a frozen sea!"
Water song.

"Upon a day,
When life and death meet,
Meet and mingle, and hurry the earth along."
Song of the spring.

"Upon a day
When death and life hold tryste,
When long suns wane,
When cold shoots down to the flower roots,
And pain bears sway again."
Song of the mist.

Hush, for the tweat, tweat, of young birds in the hollybush,
For the rush of dry leaves in the strong eddies' gush!
O song, O song, little sudden, sweet song,
Fade and flush --

For what call, what replying,
Here joying, here sighing,
Pulsing over here, dying.

Thus, through twilight to midnight,
From sick day to night's prime --
When through the midnight steal
Bells, bells, bells.

"Work time,
Rest time,
Silver chime,
Morning music, evening rhyme;
Morning rime, evening dew,
Labours many, favours few;
Climb, climb
Up the jagged slope wearily,
Glittering, slim tree,
Shower moonlight on the grey,
As we pass through the broken way,
Beryl, opal, chrysopras.
Golden queen of the hard night,
Kiss the face of chrysolite.
Heavy heart in life apart,
Jacinth, sapphire, jasper,
Every heart a heavy heart.
What demons clasp her, sorrows hold her!
Work a day, each axe on shoulder;
Eyes in the heavens a thousand bold,
All snowed over is our threshold."

So stumbling up to the door
That was just a thought open, or a little more;
One after another
Each dwarf brother,
Clustering together,
With a lamp acock in each cap's brim;
All their lights mustering
In a dim, round patch
On the door's latch,
Fumbling to find it; chattering whether
A noise of singing had mixed with the din
Of their chimes, at last tumbling in
To the long, low room, fire-lit.

All in amaze
At the red fire's blaze,
At the room pleasant and orderly,
Musical silence instead of elf-din.
Supper ready,
Beds waiting restful to be slept in;
But most of all things seen
At Snowbell, fair lily queen,

Who, timidly looking from one to another,
Wistfully scanning the face of each brother,
Sees each face clad
In thoughts sad-coloured as the clothes they wear,
And "Work-a-day clothes, work-a-day faces,
All come up to me out of sad, dark, deep places,"
Says she in her heart silently,
A little afraid.

But, see presently, at fairy
Feast, all growing cheery
Round the little sister eerie,
Seven brothers from the work day weary.

Furze soup, pine wine,
Bread made of the barks of trees,
Spread with crushed hawberries,
Mistletoes stewed,
Hart's tongue and chestnut gravies
Daintily.
A broad fungus platter
Growing from the table
In front of each brother;
The first dwarf's a wee fatter
Than the next other,
And so on, all serviceable.

Their cups each a waterbud
With a stud in each centre, one,
Chrysopras, gold green stone,
Two, all
Colours asleep in the soft opal,
Crimson-orange jacinth,
Blood of hyacinth,
Yellow moonlight,
Cold, gold chrysolite,
Beryl, sea-drop in a cup,
Sapphire, flashing up blue fire,
Jasper, green as mosses rare.

In the great chair, Snowbell,
At the table's head,
With a pearl shell
The fungus instead,
And white lady-flower from some watered dell
For a goblet, edge-curled
Like a fairy flag three-quarters unfurled
In a wind-swell.

So the time slips by
Till the clock strikes one,
Supper done,
And each dwarf on his little bed lies down.
When lo! a nest of green ferns grown
From nothing beside Snowbell's nook
Opens wide in her sight,
With a pillow snow-white in the plunge of it,
Stems closing round in a row;
For her fairest, her best
Snowbell, falling fain
On its rest.

Grate empty, lamps all dark,
Dwarfs in bed,
And a sort of bound
Through the elf things all round,
Now and then.
Moonlight streaming
Into the dreaming room --
Snowbell quietly laid, not sleeping,
Hushed, puzzled watch a-keeping
Through the streaked gloom
Over the goblin men.

So, night after night,
In the quaint home
Starlight of Ruggeddom,
Day after day all alone,
Dew-drop of elf-home,
Half a tear, half a sun,
Snowbell, unheeding
How the uncertain spirit time is speeding!

Summer mist,
Autumn rain,
Winter frost,
Weep, weep, weep!
For asleep in the arms of the doom-sleep,
Snowbell lies asleep.
Fay sister, fay sister,
Alas! summer's lost daughter,
Has the mist caught her and kissed her?
Weep, weep, weep!

Forth from the earth to their nest,
Brothers seven
To their little love come
Up to heaven;
Find all their joy flown,
Their sweet rest gone;
Only a sorrow left to keep
For each one, and for every to-morrow.

Cold on the cold floor, Snowbell,
Like a chill gleam, alas!
White garmented, ornamented
With pale moon-jewels on her head,
Like diamonds liquid
In the arms of the wild will, still.
Will it pass,
Death dream?

Ring the bells wearily:
"Midnight hours come and go,
Still as death, white as snow,
Yellow moonlight on the floor,
Paling chrysolite,
Tarnished gleams from summer store,
Yellow streams of grass,
April gold-green chrysopras,
Jacinth, opal, jasper.
What wild wills clasp her?
Emerald, emerald,
Ice-enthralled,
Flaming glory fleeing away,
Pearly twilight, deepening grey
From depth of day,
Sapphire, beryl, gloom of the deep:
Is it death or is it sleep?
Weary night hours wear and pass
Into wearier dawn, alas!
Then down to the heart of Ruggeddom
To work, and work, and work we
Till light dips low,
And home we shall go;
Grope through the night
With a new dead delight,
Oh! heavy to carry and hard to bury,
Ring our bells wearily."

Hush! -- the dark going, away there, away,
And a little gurgle of light flowing in, and the grey,
And the large low sun showing through, and the day.

Break, break;
Great Eye shining about the golden head,
Ruddy gold on the snow,
Cold moonlight instead;
Gold, gold on the floor,
Fire through the door-chinks, awake,
Snowbell, Snowbell,
In every pulse-shake of the morning, ring.

"Ring, for another love is born
Over the green and golden earth.
Hush! for a little whisper runs
Along the new shoots of the corn
With a little rush, a murmur of her.
Ring our bells in the wide air,
Tears of the day at its birth,
Baby tears hold suns.
There is a promise, a promise, a promise;
Ring our bells a merry jangle,
Through tangle of sighs.
Merrily see where the demon is lain.
Ho! a lusty hope at the throat of pain;
Over the hills, over the plain,
Though ever a sigh, ever there be,
Trailing the ground, touching the sky.
Ring our bells merrily."

Up, hence, away, each brother --
And little gusts of air,
Soft, curious, gather
About the day-bells, mutter
Their fair sweet clash all together,
Close and smother it under a plash;
Open, fling it high,
Spread it out smooth to the dim. Ring
Merrily, crash,
Ho! wild, wine-sweet, rapturous.

That's the way the cabalistic letters go,
Glimmering in the daisies' eyes,
Fairy-wise,
Folded up, crushed together, deep in the nest
Of each golden breast,
Sticking to the little white lances;
Pull them off, spread them out, tell their fancies,
"Snowbell, Snowbell, Snowbell,"
Crabbed letters spell;
You little crooked thing there can sing,
Tell us almost anything;
Magic letters, spreading verse,
Fairy histories rehearse;
Diamond sparkle, rainbow hue,
Gathering, glistening in the dew;
Tears and treasure come together,
Fears and pleasure, cut the tether,
Pleasure choosing,
Tears refusing,
Treasure losing.
But you go, but you fly
Like thistle-down in ripeness blown,
Toward the sky,
Melt like snow in tender weather,
Cowering, hiding in the flower roots,
Down the grass-blades sliding.
Lo! the verses break and fade
Of demon, dwarfs, and fairy maid;
All the letters mix together
In a jumble
Blunt and pointed, simple-jointed,
Heavy as lead and light as feather,
Short and jagged, smooth and thin,
All press in.
Midnight powers, summer haze,
Ceaseless chime
Of silver promise, golden prime,
Fading time --
Faint and more faintly ebbing, flowing
Through the breezes earthward blowing,
Round and round the even rays,
Dim nights and days,
Through the under-ground fairy ways,
See them tumble;
So, we go, in amaze.







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