The Bridge Of Cloud


    Burn, O evening hearth, and waken
        Pleasant visions, as of old!
    Though the house by winds be shaken,
        Safe I keep this room of gold!

    Ah, no longer wizard Fancy
        Builds her castles in the air,
    Luring me by necromancy
        Up the never-ending stair!

    But, instead, she builds me bridges
        Over many a dark ravine,
    Where beneath the gusty ridges
        Cataracts dash and roar unseen.

    And I cross them, little heeding
        Blast of wind or torrent's roar,
    As I follow the receding
        Footsteps that have gone before.

    Naught avails the imploring gesture,
        Naught avails the cry of pain!
    When I touch the flying vesture,
        'T is the gray robe of the rain.

    Baffled I return, and, leaning
        O'er the parapets of cloud,
    Watch the mist that intervening
        Wraps the valley in its shroud.

    And the sounds of life ascending
        Faintly, vaguely, meet the ear,
    Murmur of bells and voices blending
        With the rush of waters near.

    Well I know what there lies hidden,
        Every tower and town and farm,
    And again the land forbidden
        Reassumes its vanished charm.

    Well I know the secret places,
        And the nests in hedge and tree;
    At what doors are friendly faces,
        In what hearts are thoughts of me.

    Through the mist and darkness sinking,
        Blown by wind and beaten by shower,
    Down I fling the thought I'm thinking,
        Down I toss this Alpine flower.


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