I heard the swallow sing in the eaves and rose
All in a strange delight while others slept,
And down the creaking stair, alone, tip-toes,
So carefully I crept.
The house was dark with silly blinds yet drawn,
But outside the clean air was filled with light,
And underneath my feet the cold, wet lawn
With dew was twinkling bright.
The cobwebs hung from every branch and spray
Gleaming with pearly strands of laden thread,
And long and still the morning shadows lay
Across the meadows spread.
At that pure hour when yet no sound of man
Stirs in the whiteness of the wakening earth,
Alone through innocent solitudes I ran
Singing aloud for mirth.
Till I had found the open mountain heath
Yellow with gorse, and rested there and stood
To gaze upon the misty sea beneath,
Or on the neighbouring wood,
—That little wood of hazel and tall pine
And youngling fir, where oft we have loved to see
The level beams of early morning shine
Freshly from tree to tree.
Through the denser wood there's many a pool
Of deep and night-born shadow lingers yet
Where the new-wakened flowers are damp and cool
And the long grass is wet.
In the sweet heather long I rested there
Looking upon the dappled, early sky,
When suddenly, from out the shining air
A god came flashing by.
Swift, naked, eager, pitilessly fair,
With a live crown of birds about his head,
Singing and fluttering, and his fiery hair,
Far out behind him spread,
Streamed like a rippling torch upon the breeze
Of his own glorious swiftness: in the grass
He bruised no feathery stalk, and through the trees
I saw his whiteness pass.
But when I followed him beyond the wood,
Lo! He was changed into a solemn bull
That there upon the open pasture stood
And browsed his lazy full.
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