Out of the mid-wood's twilight Into the meadow's dawn, Ivory limbed and brown-eyed, Flashes my Faun!
He skips through the copses singing, And his shadow dances along, And I know not which I should follow, Shadow or song!
O Hunter, snare me his shadow! O Nightingale, catch me his strain! Else moonstruck with music and madness I track him in vain!
An omnibus across the bridge Crawls like a yellow butterfly And, here and there, a passer-by Shows like a little restless midge.
Big barges full of yellow hay Are moored against the shadowy wharf, And, like a yellow silken scarf, The thick fog hangs along the quay.
The yellow leaves begin to fade And flutter from the Temple elms, And at my feet the pale green Thames Lies like a rod of rippled jade.
To drift with every passion till my soul Is a stringed lute on which can winds can play, Is it for this that I have given away Mine ancient wisdom and austere control? Methinks my life is a twice-written scroll Scrawled over on some boyish holiday With idle songs for pipe and virelay, Which do but mar the secret of the whole. Surely there was a time I might have trod The sunlit heights, and from life's dissonance Struck one clear chord to reach the ears of God: Is that time dead? lo! with a little rod I did but touch the honey of romance - And must I lose a soul's inheritance?
Milton! I think thy spirit hath passed away From these white cliffs and high-embattled towers; This gorgeous fiery-coloured world of ours Seems fallen into ashes dull and grey, And the age changed unto a mimic play Wherein we waste our else too-crowded hours: For all our pomp and pageantry and powers We are but fit to delve the common clay, Seeing this little isle on which we stand, This England, this sea-lion of the sea, By ignorant demagogues is held in fee, Who love her not: Dear God! is this the land Which bare a triple empire in her hand When Cromwell spake the word Democracy!