Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A FRAGMENT, by LEWIS MORRIS (1833-1907)



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A FRAGMENT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Then rose a shout
Last Line: Yet no voice came. But what had been, had been.


THEN rose a shout,
As of a people long-time mute, which found
A sudden voice and with it power. They cry
Blending in one loud roar, the unnumbered sum
Of petty dissonant lives, laughter and tears,
Rage, terror, pleasure, triumph; mingled, blent
In one consentient utterance; burst a flood
In thunder down the echoing colonnades
And dim recesses of the storied shrines,
Where dwelt the elder gods; big with high dooms
And presages of Fate. Then, ere it fell,
The clamour like a bickering thunder rolled
Afield beyond the city gates, and woke
The silent river loitering to the sea,
Till the shy sea-mews wailed. Last on the hills
Untrodden, dim, which hung 'tween plain and sky,
Mounting it smote, and on her eyrie roused
The watchful, nesting eagle, till she raised
Her half-closed eyelids; the light-footed fox
Pricked a keen ear; all birds and beasts of prey,
Seeking their meat in silence in the night,
Paused from the quest a moment at the shock
Of that strange formless roar. Anon it died,
Swallowed in silence; and the loneliness
Of that still listening world grew terrible,
As is the ghostly rush of worlds which wheel
For ever through the ages dumb and dead;
Yet no voice came. But what had been, had been.





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