A Vision of Youth

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A horseman on a hilltop green
   Drew rein, and wound his horn;
So bright he looked he might have been
   The Herald of the Morn.

His steed was of the sovran strain
   In Fancy's meadows bred —
And pride was in his tossing mane,
   And triumph in his tread.

The rider's eyes like jewels glowed —
   The World was in his hand —
As down the woodland way he rode
   When Spring was in the land.

From golden hour to golden hour
   For him the woodland sang,
And from the heart of every flower
   A singing fairy sprang.

He rode along with rein so free,
   And, as he rode, the Blue
Mysterious Bird of Fantasy
   Ever before him flew.

He rode by cot and castle dim
   Through all the greenland gay;
Bright eyes through casements glanced at him;
   He laughed — and rode away.

The world with sunshine was aflood,
   And glad were maid and man,
And through his throbbing veins the blood
   In keen, sweet shudders ran.

 * * * *

His steed tossed head with fiery scorn,
   And stamped, and snuffed the air —
As though he heard a sudden horn
   Of far-off battle blare.

Erect the rider sat awhile
   With flashing eyes, and then
Turned slowly, sighing, with a smile,
   “O weary world of men!”

For aye the Bird of Fantasy
   Sang magic songs to him,
And deep and deeper still rode he
   Into the Forest Dim.

 * * * *

That rider with his face aglow
   With joy of life I see
In dreams. Ah, years and years ago
   He parted ways with me!

Yet, sometimes, when the days are drear
   And all the world forlorn,
From out the dim wood's heart I hear
   The echo of his horn.

This work is in the public domain in Australia because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council - Duration of Copyright (August 2014).

This work is also in the public domain in the United States because it was in the public domain in Australia in 1996, and no copyright was registered in the U.S. (This is the combined effect of Australia having joining the Berne Convention in 1928, and of 17 USC 104A with its critical date of January 1, 1996.)

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.