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    Walter de la Mare

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    Music

      When music sounds, gone is the earth I know,
      And all her lovely things even lovelier grow;
      Her flowers in vision flame, her forest trees
      Lift burdened branches, stilled with ecstasies.

      When music sounds, out of the water rise
      Naiads whose beauty dims my waking eyes,
      Rapt in strange dreams burns each enchanted face,
      With solemn echoing stirs their dwelling-place.

      When music sounds, all that I was I am
      Ere to this haunt of brooding dust I came;
      And from Time's woods break into distant song
      The swift-winged hours, as I hasten along.


    Wanderers

      Wide are the meadows of night,
      And daisies are shinng there,
      Tossing their lovely dews,
      Lustrous and fair;
      And through these sweet fields go,
      Wanderers amid the stars --
      Venus, Mercury, Uranus, Neptune,
      Saturn, Jupiter, Mars.

      'Tired in their silver, they move,
      And circling, whisper and say,
      Fair are the blossoming meads of delight
      Through which we stray.


    Melmillo

      Three and thirty birds there stood
      In an elder in a wood;
      Called Melmillo -- flew off three,
      Leaving thirty in the tree;
      Called Melmillo -- nine now gone,
      And the boughs held twenty-one;
      Called Melmillo -- and eighteen
      Left but three to nod and preen;
      Called Melmillo -- three--two--one--
      Now of birds were feathers none.

      Then stole slim Me.millo in
      To that wood all dusk and green,
      And with lean long palms outspread
      Softly a strange dance did tread;
      Not a note of music she
      Had for echoing company;
      All the birds were flown to rest
      In the hollow of her breast;
      In the wood -- thorn, elder willow --
      Danced alone -- lone danced Melmillo.


    Alexander

      It was the Great Alexander,
      Capped with a golden helm,
      Sate in the ages, in his floating ship,
      In a dead calm.

      Voices of sea-maids singing
      Wandered across the deep:
      The sailors labouring on their oars
      Rowed as in sleep.

      All the high pomp of Asia,
      Charmed by that siren lay,
      Out of their weary and dreaming minds
      Faded away.

      Like a bold boy sate their Captain,
      His glamour withered and gone,
      In the souls of his brooding mariners,
      While the song pined on.

      Time like a falling dew,
      Life like the scene of a dream
      Laid between slumber and slumber
      Only did seem. . . .

      O Alexander, then,
      In all us mortals too,
      Wax not so overbold
      On the wave dark-blue!

      Come the calm starry night,
      Who then will hear
      Aught save the singing
      Of the sea-maids clear?


    The Mocking Fairy

      'Won't you look out of your window, Mrs. Gill?'
      Quoth the Fairy, nidding, nodding in the garden;
      'Can't you look out of your window, Mrs. Gill?'
      Quoth the Fairy, laughing softly in the garden;
      But the air was still, the cherry boughs were still,
      And the ivy-tod neath the empty sill,
      And never from her window looked out Mrs. Gill
      On the Fairy shrilly mocking in the garden.

      'What have they done with you, you poor Mrs. Gill?'
      Quoth the Fairy brightly glancing in the garden;
      'Where have they hidden you, you poor old Mrs. Gill?'
      Quoth the Fairy dancing lightly in the garden;
      But night's faint veil now wrapped the hill,
      Stark 'neath the stars stood the dead-still Mill,
      And out of her cold cottage never answered Mrs. Gill
      The Fairy mimbling, mambling in the garden.


    Full Moon

      One night as Dick lay half asleep,
      Into his drowsy eyes
      A great still light began to creep
      From out the silent skies.
      It was the lovely moon's, for when
      He raised his dreamy head,
      Her surge of silver filled the pane
      And streamed across his bed.
      So, for a while, each gazed at each --
      Dick and the solemn moon --
      Till, climbing slowly on her way,
      She vanished, and was gone.


    Off the Ground

      Three jolly Farmers
      Once bet a pound
      Each dance the others would
      Off the ground.
      Out of their coats
      They slipped right soon,
      And neat and nicesome
      Put each his shoon.
      One--Two--Three!
      And away they go,
      Not too fast,
      And not too slow;
      Out from the elm-tree's
      Noonday shadow,
      Into the sun
      And across the meadow.
      Past the schoolroom,
      With knees well bent,
      Fingers a flicking,
      They dancing went.
      Up sides and over,
      And round and round,
      They crossed click-clacking
      The Parish bound;
      By Tupman's meadow
      They did their mile,
      Tee-to-tum
      On a three-barred stile.
      Then straight through Whipham,
      Downhill to Week,
      Footing it lightsome,
      But not too quick,
      Up fields to Watchet
      And on through Wye,
      Till seven fine churches
      They'd seen slip by --
      Seven fine churches,
      And five old mills,
      Farms in the valley,
      And sheep on the hills;
      Old Man's Acre
      And Dead Man's Pool
      All left behind,
      As they danced through Wool.
      And Wool gone by,
      Like tops that seem
      To spin in sleep
      They danced in dream:
      Withy -- Wellover --
      Wassop -- Wo --
      Like an old clock
      Their heels did go.
      A league and a league
      And a league they went,
      And not one weary,
      And not one spent.
      And log, and behold!
      Past Willow-cum-Leigh
      Stretched with its waters
      The great green sea.
      Says Farmer Bates,
      'I puffs and I blows,
      What's under the water,
      Why, no man knows !'
      Says Farmer Giles,
      'My mind comes weak,
      And a good man drownded
      Is far to seek. '
      But Farmer Turvey,
      On twirling toes,
      Up's with his gaiters,
      And in he goes:
      Down where the mermaids
      Pluck and play
      On their twangling harps
      In a sea-green day;
      Down where the mermaids
      Finned and fair,
      Sleek with their combs
      Their yellow hair. . . .
      Bates and Giles --
      On the shingle sat,
      Gazing at Turvey's
      Floating hat.
      But never a ripple
      Nor bubble told
      Where he was supping
      Off plates of gold.
      Never an echo
      Rilled through the sea
      Of the feasting and dancing
      And minstrelsy.
      They called -- called -- called;
      Came no reply:
      Nought but the ripples'
      Sandy sigh.
      Then glum and silent
      They sat instead,
      Vacantly brooding
      On home and bed,
      Till both together
      Stood up and said: --
      'Us knows not, dreams not,
      Where you be,
      Turvey, unless
      In the deep blue sea;
      But axcusing silver --
      And it comes most willing --
      Here's us two paying our forty shilling;
      For it's sartin sure, Turvey,
      Safe and sound,
      You danced us a square, Turvey,
      Off the ground. '


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