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Mandragora/The Flute-player

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ONCE I saw her. 'Twas long ago;
From the bridge of a dream-city.
Drops of rain were falling slow.
It was autumn and long ago;
And somewhere in the fields below
A flute-player played this ditty —
   One look and never the same again
   Are the roses on the wall;
   One look and forever the midnight rain
   With a different sound must fall.

Gables and gardens, roofs and towers,
Hung vague and rich and dim.
From somewhere there came a scent of flowers,
And a wind from the world's rim;
And the sun sank red behind the towers,
And she stood and looked at him.

She looked at him from a closed window,
Then at me did she look down.

It was autumn and very long ago,
And drops of rain kept falling slow
And a flute-player played on his flute below,
From the fields below the town.

And now they have told me so constantly
That the place was a city of dreams.
That my reason believes it; but in my heart,
In my heart most real it seems!
And thro' town and country I still must go
The shadowy roads along,
Seeing always that closed window
And hearing that flute-player's song.

And when the sun most rich and dim
Sinks down behind dark towers,
And there comes a wind from the world's rim
And from somewhere a scent of flowers—
I stand again on the bridge of that city
And hear that flute-player;
And my Love looks down on me in pity,
And I look back at her.

—One look and never the same again
Are the roses on the wall;
One look and forever the midnight rain
With a different sound must fall!


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.


The author died in 1963, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 50 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.