Thomas Aird

Fancy

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Thunder-palls through gorges trailing,
In their skirts the raven sailing;
Slanting shafts of showery light
Strike, wet and warm, the woodlands bright,—
The melting woodlands greenly bright.
List! list the music Summer loves:
All her woodlands moan with doves.

Purple spirts, and golden sheaves!
But ah October's faded eves!
Trooping down the barren shore,
The lapwings wheel their veering flight
The sandy ferry o'er and o'er,
Now they're black, and now they're white;
Hoarser brawl the wind-curled rills;
From out yon gap in the far hills
The hail-blast drifting white and slow
(How the fir-wood glooms below!)
Seems to come on, but thin and rare
Disperses as it hangs in air.

November clouds on every moor,
All the hills they drench and steep,
Dun sodden hills of blackened sheep;
Torrents leaping, downward sweeping,
All the rotten woodlands dripping,
Mercy house the wandering poor!

O'er curdled floods, and hills of snow
Moon-glazed, the North's keen nostrils blow.

Trouble of wild illumining
Dashed on the moorland lone!
Flashes the falcon's wing
Up from the Runic Stone.

Bless thee, sweet April corn, exhaled to sight,
A dewy dust of thin green light.

In my winter corner musing,
Fancy thus her finger using,
Cunning finger, dipt in glooms,
Dews of light, and coloured blooms,
Gives me, round her pictured hall,
Touches of the seasons all.
Tricksy Fancy, well she knows
What clouds to every scene she owes,
And shapes and tints them as she wills;
Rose-skirted on the mountains hoary,
Torn to shreds of hurrying rack,
Ranged in the north and battlemented black,
White flock of zenith, or with stormy glory
Tumbling tumultuous o'er the western hills.

Ruddier deep the embers glowing,
Rarer things is Fancy showing:
Sun-spilt in earth's embowelled night,
Drops of distilled and filtered light,
Compact to lucid stone, to shine
On emblematic breasts divine;
Green floating twilights, Shapes, the caves
Of eldest Mystery 'neath the waves;
Upward, onward, limitless,
Foaming with worlds, heaven's blue abyss:
And Fancy still my minister,
I with all the worlds confer.

Death sat on the Pale Horse and cried:—
“Hail, sunny South!
Saws in his jaws, snap goes my crocodile's mouth.
Horned and burnished, asp and adder
Hiss and rear as on they glide—
Ha! the fang has made me gladder.
What a roar! what a bound! how that lion of ours
Gripshisfear-foundered quarry, rends, craunches, devours!
Sweep on! Be doom!
My leal Simoom
Far lurid whirling o'er Sahara sweeps:
It whirls, and whelms
The drifted realms.
From swamp to swamp my Fever creeps.
Whoop! club, swung out from ambushed craft,
Smite, surety sure to poisoned shaft.
Mother of slaves,
Give white men graves.
My blessing on the sunny South!”
Mocking he pointed, as the maiden slept:
Look! look! her love—“Save! save!” she shrieked, woke, wept.
Heart, passionate heart, dark as thy day or bright,
Fancy rules thy dreaming night.

Mirth for Man her berry crushes;
Love her cestus, wove of blushes,
Froth of the sea, quick bloom of fire,
Tremors, and sighs, and sweet desire,
Wears all for Man: How soft they stand
In witching grace from Fancy's hand!

Spirits of moral calm and storm,
All the ideal tribes, so shy
And complex to the Sage's eye,
'Tis Fancy gives them living form.
She shapes the elemental powers,
Sylphs, and ouphes, and elves of flowers;
Faded ghosts of old renown,
By tops and turrets tumbling down;
Eyes of dragons spitting flame;
Hags of the night, and all the race
That hate and fear the Sign of Grace,
Vague phantoms drear without a name.

The horn of War she rides afar,
And curls its tip of tragic ire.
The turtle Peace, she will not cease
Her breathing through the belch of fire.

List, oh list the sweet-lipped Sages.
I hear the Song of world-wide compass sung.
I hear the Prophet's tongue
Come sounding down the ages:
Kings and their scattered levies fly
The accusing angel of his eye.

Spiritual in the depth of time,
Vivid rise the heads sublime:
Large of front, with luminous eyes,
The lords of thought and purpose rise;
The men-compellers, chief and sage,
Who shaped the world from age to age.
“Put thy shoes from off thy feet,
Reverent stand, and reverent greet,”
Fancy whispers, “dare to scan
The awful head of God in Man.”
And to the wondering inner eye,
The Man of Sorrows passes by.

It boils, it breaks, the abysmal mist:
Up, curdling Future! Modes, degrees,
Horns of power, and heads of crest,
Fancy, more than seeing, sees.

The orphan ail, the orphan wail,
So weak in yonder dwelling drear,
The Heavens assail; within the Vail,
They grapple God to bow and hear:
Such grief below, such grace above,
Fancy dares the Throne of Love.

Above, below, each form and show,
To Memory, Reason, Faith, assigned,
'Tis, Fancy, thine to recombine,
And multiply the life of Mind.

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Thomas Aird