A Dreamer of Dreams

He lived beyond men, and so stood
Admitted to the brotherhood
Of beauty: — dreams, with which he trod
Companioned like some sylvan god.
And oft men wondered, when his thought
Made all their knowledge seem as naught,
If he, like Uther's mystic son,
Had not been born for Avalon.

When wandering mid the whispering trees,
His soul communed with every breeze;
Heard voices calling from the glades,
Bloom-words of the Leimoniäds;
Or Dryads of the ash and oak,
Who syllabled his name and spoke
With him of presences and powers
That glimpsed in sunbeams, gloomed in showers.

By every violet-hallowed brook,
Where every bramble-matted nook
Rippled and laughed with water sounds,
He walked like one on sainted grounds,
Fearing intrusion on the spell
That kept some fountain-spirit's well,
Or woodland genius, sitting where
Red, racy berries kissed his hair.

Once when the wind, far o'er the hill,
Had fall'n and left the wildwood still
For Dawn's dim feet to trail across,—
Beneath the gnarled boughs, on the moss,
The air around him golden-ripe
With daybreak,— there, with oaten pipe,
His eyes beheld the wood-god, Pan,
Goat-bearded, horned; half brute, half man;
Who, shaggy-haunched, a savage rhyme
Blew in his reed to rudest time;
And swollen-jowled, with rolling eye —
Beneath the slowly silvering sky,
Whose rose streaked through the forest's roof —
Danced, while beneath his boisterous hoof
The branch was snapped, and, interfused
Between gnarled roots, the moss was bruised.

And often when he wandered through
Old forests at the fall of dew —
A new Endymion, who sought
A beauty higher than all thought —
Some night, men said, most surely he
Would favored be of deity:
That in the holy solitude
Her sudden presence, long-pursued,
Unto his gaze would stand confessed:
The awful moonlight of her breast
Come, high with majesty, and hold
His heart's blood till his heart grew cold,
Unpulsed, unsinewed, all undone,
And snatch his soul to Avalon.

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