BETA

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The Voices in the Fir Wood.

There’s ever a soft, low breathing through the fir-trees
long dark ranks,
1
When the violets cloud with purple the cone-strewn
mossy banks ;
2
There’s a soft and murmurous stirring, how faint soe’er
it be,
3
Though not a cloud is sailing upon the sky’s blue sea.4
There’s a soft low simmering whisper when the summer
flowers are still,
5
And not a sound is stirring but the sheep-bells on the
hill ;
6
There’s a soft low murmur spreading all through the
sombre trees,
7
Dim, distant lamentations of the prisoned Dryades.8
It’s like the distant surging of an ocean ill at rest,9
Round some sleeping lotus-island hid in the golden
west,
10
Where, on pebbles that are jewels, the long, broad, roll-
ing tide
11
Shouts with a laughing anger, and a half lazy pride.12
It’s like the banshee’s wailing, heard from a distant fen ;13
It’s like the fairies mourning the earlier race of men,14
Those chieftains who once proudly wore the bracelet,
crown, and chain,
15
And now, beside their crumbling swords, sleep calmly
’neath the plain.
16
But the voices wax more terrible in the damp, cold
autumn eves,
17
When down the long, dim riding come driving storms
of leaves,
18
That swell to tigrish ravings, and roars, as when Jove’s
thunder,
19
Smote the crushed and stricken giants, and drave their
hosts asunder.
20
They charge, with swelling fury, like horsemen hurled
to break
21
The close ranks of the legions no storms of war could
shake,
22
Those dark-browed sinewy Romans, that here once faced
the spears,
23
And lie beneath us, all unwept but by the dew drops’
tears.
24
When the wind, with a madman’s frenzy, raves scream-
ing in despair,
25
And tries to wrench, by their tangled roots, the saplings
green and fair ;
26
Those gusts of surging anger, that roll through the
tossing trees,
27
Are the frantic lamentations of the prisoned Dryades.28