By the Aurelian Wall and Other Elegies

by Bliss Carman




IN the warm blue heart of the hills
My beautiful, beautiful one
Sleeps where he laid him down
Before the journey was done.

All the long summer day


The ghosts of noon draw nigh,
And the tremulous aspens hear
The footing of winds go by.

Down to the gates of the sea,
Out of the gates of the west,


Journeys the whispering river
Before the place of his rest.

The road he loved to follow
When June came by his door,
Out through the dim blue haze


Leads, but allures no more.

The trailing shadows of clouds
Steal from the slopes and are gone;
The myriad life in the grass
Stirs, but he slumbers on;


The inland wandering tern
Skreel as they forage and fly;
His loons on the lonely reach
Utter their querulous cry;

Over the floating lilies


A dragon-fly tacks and steers;
Far in the depth of the blue
A martin settles and veers;

To every roadside thistle
A gold-brown butterfly clings;


But he no more companions
All the dear vagrant things.

The strong red journeying sun,
The pale and wandering rain,
Will roam on the hills forever


And find him never again.

Then twilight falls with the touch
Of a hand that soothes and stills,
And a swamp-robin sings into light
The lone white star of the hills.


Alone in the dusk he sings,
And a burden of sorrow and wrong
Is lifted up from the earth
And carried away in his song.

Alone in the dusk he sings,


And the joy of another day
Is folded in peace and borne
On the drift of years away.

But there in the heart of the hills
My beautiful weary one

Sleeps where he laid him down;
And the large sweet night is begun.