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Thus the day passed, and the evening
Fell, with vapours cold and dim; But it brought no food nor shelter,
Brought no straw nor stall, for him.
Patiently, and still expectant,
Looked he through the wooden bars, Saw the moon rise o'er the landscape,
Saw the tranquil, patient stars ;
Till at length the bell at midnight
Sounded from its dark abode, And, from out a neighbouring farmyard,
Loud the cock Alectryon crowed.
Then, with nostrils wide distended,
Breaking from his iron chain, And unfolding far his pinions,
To those stars he soared again.
On the morrow, when the village
Woke to all its toil and care,
And they knew not when nor where.
But they found, upon the greensward
Where his struggling hoofs had trod, Pure and bright, a fountain flowing
From the hoof-marks in the sod.
From that hour, the fount unfailing
Gladdens the whole region round, Strengthening all who drink its waters,
While it soothes them with its sound.
BIRDS OF PASSAGE.
BLACK shadows fall
Against the southern sky;
And from the realms
The fields that round us lie.
But the night is fair,
And distant sounds seem near;
And above, in the light
Through the dewy atmosphere.
I hear the beat
They seek a southern lea.
But their forms I cannot see.
say not so; Those sounds that flow In murmurs of delight and woe
Come not from wings of birds.
They are the throngs
The sounds of wingèd words.
Seeking a warmer clime.
With the murmuring sound of rhyme.
KING WITLAF'S DRINKING-HORN.
Ere yet his last he breathed,
His drinking-horn bequeathed, -
And drank from the golden bowl, They might remember the donor,
And breathe a prayer for his soul.
And bade the goblet pass;
Like dew-drops in the grass.
They drank to Christ the Lord, And to each of the Twelve Apostles
Who had preached his holy word.
They drank to the Saints and Martyrs
of the dismal days of yore, And as soon as the horn was empty
They remembered one Saint more. And the reader droned from the pulpit,
Like the murmur of many bees,
And St. Basil's homilies;
From their prison in the tower,
Proclaimed the midnight hour, And the Yule-log cracked in the chimney,
And the Abbot bowed his head, And the flamelets flapped and flickered,
But the Abbot was stark and dead. Yet still in his pallid fingers
He clutched the golden bowl, In which, like a pearl dissolving,
Had sunk and dissolved his soul.
The jovial monks forbore,
We must drink to one Saint more !"
I saw the pallid corpse
tongue, As on the warrior's sword. All things in earth and air Bound were by magic spell Never to do him harm; Even the plants and stones, All save the mistletoe, The sacred mistletoe ! Hæder, the blind old god, Whose feet are shod with silence, Pierced through that gentle breast With his sharp spear, by fraud Made of the mistletoe, The accursèd mistletoe! They laid him in his ship, With horse and harness, As on a funeral pyre.