THE perfect eloquence of silence; then,
Amid the softened afterglow,
From each bay-bordered island fen
On either hand, distinct but low—
Was it the twang of strings ? . . .
O'erhead there is a whirr of homing wings,
And silence falls again.
But now—ah, timely,—the choragus! Hark!
Leader of choric minstrels grim,
Grave his solemnity: and mark
What eerie voices follow him
As strophe and antistrophe
Swell to the roar of a far-sounding sea,
Out of the marshy dark!
Can these, indeed, be voices, that so greet
The twilight still? I seem to hear
Oboe and cymbal in a rhythmic beat
With bass-drum and bassoon; their drear
And droll crescendo louder growing,
Then falling back, like waters ebbing, flowing,—
Back to the silence sweet!