A Fragment



Between two sister moorland rills
There is a spot that seems to lie
Sacred to flowrets of the hills,
And sacred to the sky.
And in this smooth and open dell5
There is a tempest-stricken tree;
A corner-stone by lightning cut,
The last stone of a cottage hut;
And in this dell you see
A thing no storm can e’er destroy,10
The shadow of a Danish Boy.
In clouds above, the lark is heard,
He sings his blithest and his best;
But in this lonesome nook the bird
Did never build his nest.15
No beast, no bird hath here his home;
The bees borne on the breezy air
Pass high above those fragrant bells
To other flowers, to other dells,
Nor ever linger there.20
The Danish Boy walks here alone:
The lovely dell is all his own.
A spirit of noon day is he,
He seems a Form of flesh and blood;
A piping Shepherd he might be,25
A Herd-boy of the wood.
A regal vest of fur he wears,
In colour like a raven’s wing;
It fears nor rain, nor wind, nor dew,
But in the storm ’tis fresh and blue30
As budding pines in Spring;
His helmet has a vernal grace,
Fresh as the bloom upon his face.
A harp is from his shoulder slung;
He rests the harp upon his knee,35
And there in a forgotten tongue
He warbles melody.
Of flocks and herds both far and near
He is the darling and the joy,
And often, when no cause appears,40
The mountain ponies prick their ears,
They hear the Danish Boy,
While in the dell he sits alone
Beside the tree and corner-stone.
When near this blasted tree you pass,45
Two sods are plainly to be seen
Close at its root, and each with grass
Is cover’d fresh and green.
Like turf upon a new-made grave
These two green sods together lie,50
Nor heat, nor cold, nor rain, nor wind
Can these two sods together bind,
Nor sun, nor earth, nor sky,
But side by side the two are laid,
As if just sever’d by the spade.55
There sits he: in his face you spy
No trace of a ferocious air,
Nor ever was a cloudless sky
So steady or so fair.
The lovely Danish Boy is blest60
And happy in his flowery cove;
From bloody deeds his thoughts are far;
And yet he warbles songs of war;
They seem like songs of love,
For calm and gentle is his mien;65
Like a dead Boy he is serene.
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