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

by William Wilfred Campbell




WHEN ripened Summer dreams and sleeps,
   And her hushed silence teems
With golden gleam of mystic drowse
   And silvern trance of dreams;

And all the woods are held in moods

   Of slumber sunbeam spun,
There is an elfin dancer light,
   Who dances in the sun,

And stands and claps his shining hands
   And bids the mirth move on

Of some invisible, mystic rout
   The slumbrous day upon.

And they, the revellers, dim, unseen,
   Who chase his phantom mood;
Perchance the naiads of the stream,

   The dryads of the wood.

For when a wind-breath wakes the world
   And stirs each drowsèd tree,
Like magic silver works his bow
   In fiddlings merrily.


And all his elfin revellers dance
   By glint of wood and stream,
Till all the drowsèd day about
   Goes dancing in his dream.

And when in shrouded moonlight glooms

   The woodland sighs and frets,
Along the snowy dream he shakes
   His silvern castanets;

Till phantom creatures of the night,
   Shy satyrs, gnomes, and fauns,

Foot to his music mad and sweet
   Along the mossy lawns.

He is the master of the mirth
   Of field and stream and tree;
And of the dreamers of the wood,

   The lord of revels he.

Till Summer and her dream depart
   And leaf and gleam be done,
He holds the whole world’s laughing heart,
   This dancer in the sun.