The Shepherd.

Upon the lofty ledges of an alp1
Green as an emerald, whence into the vale2
Leaps the loud cataract, the shepherd lay ;3
And, for the Spring was come and all things, sweet,4
His soul was moved to music, and he played5
Upon his pastoral pipe a prelude rare,6
Accordant with the bleatings of the hill,7
And lowings of the valley, and far away8
Murmurings of the many-voicèd main.9
Clear-voiced he sang, for he was skilled to wed10
Words winged with passion unto passionate airs ;11
Happy the singer, but the song was sad,12
To pique the more him happy, and thus he sang :13
O meadow flowers, primrose and violet,14
Ye touch her slender ankles as she moves,15
But I, that worship, may not kiss her feet.16
O mountain airs, where unconfinèd float17
Her locks ambrosial, would that I were you,18
To wanton with the tangles of her hair !19
O leaping waves, that press and lip and lave20
Her thousand beauties, when shall it be mine21
To touch and kiss and clasp her even as you ?22
But she more loves the blossom and the breeze23
Than lip or hand of mine, and thy cold clasp,24
O barren sea, than these impassioned arms.”25
So ran the song ; and even the while he sang26
Her head lay on his shoulder, and her hands27
Wove him the prize, a crown of meadow flowers,28
Primrose and violet, and with amorous touch29
He wooed her neck and wantoned with her hair,30
And marked the tell-tale colour flush and fail31
Thrilled with a touch, and felt the counter-thrill32
Throng all the passionate pulses of the blood,33
Nor envied in his heart the barren sea.34