Sagas of Vaster Britain: Poems of the Race, the Empire and the Divinity of Man

by William Wilfred Campbell




IT was a haunted youth; he spake
    Beneath the beechen shade:
‘An’ hast thou seen my love go past,
    A sunny, winsome maid?

‘An’ hast thou seen my love fare past,

    Her face with life aflame?
The leaves astir her footsteps tell,
    The soft winds blow her name.

‘’Twas when the autumn days were still—
    It seemeth but an hour—

I met her on the gold hillside
    When elfin loves had power.

‘Her voice was like the sound of brooks,
    Her face like some wild bloom;
And in the beauty of her look

    I read mine ancient doom.

‘And when the world in mist died out
    Down toward some evening land,
Betwixt the glinting golden rod
    We two went hand in hand.


‘And when the moon, a golden disk,
    Above the night hills came,
Down in a world of midnight haze
    I kissed her lips aflame.

‘But when the moon was hidden low

    Behind each spectre tree,
She loosed from my sad arms and bent
    A startled look on me.

‘(While wound from out some haunted dusk
    A far-off elfin horn),

Like one on sudden woke from sleep,
    And fled into the morn.

‘I follow her, I follow her,
    But nevermore may see—
The crimson dawn, the stars of night

    Know what she is to me.

‘I ne’er can rest, I ne’er can stay,
    But speed from place to place;
For all my heart is flamed with that
    Wild glamour of her face.


‘I know her soft arms in my dreams,
    All wound about my sleep;
I seem to hear her silvern voice
    In all the winds that creep.

‘O saw you not her come this way,

    By boughs in waters glassed?
So slight her form, so soft her step
    You’d think a moon-ray passed.

‘O tell me, did you see her wend?
    And whence, to hill or sea?

The ruddy dawn, the stars of night
    Know what she is to me.’