Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FANTASIA ON CLAVIERS AT NIGHT, by HERBERT TRENCH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

FANTASIA ON CLAVIERS AT NIGHT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I watch'd a white-hair'd figure like a breeze
Last Line: "thou hast another day!"
Subject(s): Music & Musicians; Travel

I WATCH'D a white-hair'd Figure like a breeze Pass, with a smile, down the
bare galleries And heard his ancient fingers, as he went, Muse on the heart of
each blind instrument.


"Shoaling through twilight to my silver tinglings
The great-ruff'd ladies beset with pearl
Come out with the gallants in gems of Cadiz
In lofty capriols with loud spur-jinglings
In Roman galliard and in blithe coranto
Learnt in far Otranto
Brought home in the galleys of the Earl --
Storm-riding galleys of the haughty Earl --
To English valleys.
They come
With reverences stately at meeting
In mockeries sedately retreating
And stomachers and buckles and rings
Shake a maze of jewels to the measured strings,
Of trembling jewels.
Ay, moonlight's fair in yew-clipt alleys,
And young Love fledges
His shafts 'twixt cypress hedges.
Follow the rout, and watch in gentle wind
The springing moonbeam of the fountain sway'd
Like to a mountain maid
Who turns with poised jar
From bubbling hollow cool.
'Behold, how't tosses rain of star-drops hither
Into main blackness of the pool --
Rings ever shimmering out and sheen reborn;
So, thou and I, lady, must die,
To wake, as echoes wake, of yonder horn
With volcelest over the hills of morn.
Ah, satin-quilted kirtle,
Ah, pearled bosom,
Let slip one flake of blossom,
Deign but a sprig of myrtle,
To the poor Fool, panting on his bended knee!'
But silent grow the long swards cedar-shaded
Where the young loves were sitting;
And lo, in the silver-candled hall
The bat is flitting, flitting,
The tapestries are dusk upon the wall
And the ladies bright, brocaded,
All, with their blushes, faded!"


"Now ye, the delicate patterers of the hush,
Birds, hither!
Scarce-rustlers of the sere involved leaf
Who mourn for summers past with elfin grief,
Ye who can hear along the inmost lawn
Ebbings and flowings shrill
When subtle ballads net the rime-cold daffodil
And drift over the blue turf so nigh dumb
They startle not from's gloom e'en the airy fawn.
Old Antony on his Nile-barge at dawn
Caught your deck-walkings countless overhead
And eased with ye a heart eclipsed and dead.
Come swift, come soon
Drift, like a veil over the moon,
And rising round this crumbling Keep
Shed ye, upon the sleepless, sleep!"


"'Wherefore, poor Fool, dost lie --
Love, cap and bells put by --
On thy pallet-bed so stark?'
'I am girt, soul and limb,
'Gainst horror dim.
Ear tense to hark
Mine eyeballs strain and swim
Drowning in foamy dark.
Comes no shock
Nor earthly foot
But the heart's blood, ebb'd with the chill tower-clock
To a single beat,
Clots to a fear
That God may appear --
None other eye being near --
And bare of his mantle of law
Stand, a giant Spirit beautiful
Somber, pale, in avenging mail,
Wings folded, on this planet's skull;
And before Him dropping like fine rain,
A veil o' the cloud o' the dust of kings
Noiseless descending the old Abyss. . . .
Ah then, after this
How gentle through the dark paths of the brain
Comes the faint noise of outer things;
The whirr and shower of wings --
Satin shufflings of ivy leaves
Ranging like bees the leaden pane --
Jolting of carters, cries of falconers --
The blessed courtyard stirs
That do in mercy say
Thou hast another day!"

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