University of Virginia Library


Pursued, the mounted robber flies
Unawed through Kedron's plunged demesne:
The clink, and clinking echo dies:
He vanishes: a long ravine.
And stealthy there, in little chinks
Betwixt or under slab-rocks, slinks
The dwindled amber current lean.
Far down see Rolfe there, hidden low
By ledges slant. Small does he show
(If eagles eye), small and far off
As Mother-Cary's bird in den
Of Cape Horn's hollowing billow-trough,
When from the rail where lashed they bide
The sweep of overcurling tide,—
Down, down, in bonds the seamen gaze
Upon that flutterer in glen
Of waters where it sheltered plays,
While, over it, each briny hight


Is torn with bubbling torrents white
In slant foam tumbling from the snow
Upon the crest; and far as eye
Can range through mist and scud which fly,
Peak behind peak the liquid summits grow.
By chance Rolfe won the rocky stair
At base, and queried if it were
Man's work or nature's, or the twain
Had wrought together in that lane
Of high ascent, so crooked with turns
And flanked by coignes, that one discerns
But links thereof in flights encaved,
Whate'er the point of view. Up, slow
He climbed for little space; then craved
A respite, turned and sat; and, lo,
The Tree in salutation waved
Across the chasm. Remindings swell;
Sweet troubles of emotion mount—
Sylvan reveries, and they well
From memory's Bandusa fount;
Yet scarce the memory alone,
But that and question merged in one:
“Whom weave ye in,
Ye vines, ye palms? whom now, Soolee?
Lives yet your Indian Arcady?
His sunburnt face what Saxon shows—
His limbs all white as lilies be—
Where Eden, isled, impurpled glows
In old Mendanna's sea?
Takes who the venture after me?
“Who now adown the mountain dell
(Till mine, by human foot untrod—
Nor easy, like the steps to hell)
In panic leaps the appalling crag,


Alighting on the cloistral sod
Where strange Hesperian orchards drag,
Walled round by cliff and cascatelle—
Arcades of Iris; and though lorn,
A truant ship-boy overworn,
Is hailed for a descended god?
“Who sips the vernal cocoa's cream—
The nereids dimpling in the darkling stream?
For whom the gambol of the tricksy dream—
Even Puck's substantiated scene,
Yea, much as man might hope and more than heaven may mean?
“And whom do priest and people sue,
In terms which pathos yet shall tone
When memory comes unto her own,
To dwell with them and ever find them true:
‘Abide, for peace is here:
Behold, nor heat nor cold we fear,
Nor any dearth: one happy tide—
A dance, a garland of the year:
“But who so feels the stars annoy,
Upbraiding him,—how far astray!—
That he abjures the simple joy,
And hurries over the briny world away?
“Renouncer! is it Adam's flight
Without compulsion or the sin?
And shall the vale avenge the slight
By haunting thee in hours thou yet shalt win?”
He tarried. And each swaying fan
Sighed to his mood in threnodies of Pan.