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;
Nor piping Shepherd shall he be,25
Nor Herd-boy of the wood.
A regal vest of fur he wears,
In colour like a raven’s wing;
It fears not 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 upon the neighbouring hills
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.
There sits he: in his face you spy45
No trace of a ferocious air,
Nor ever was a cloudless sky
So steady or so fair.
The lovely Danish Boy is blest
And happy in his flowery cove:50
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;
Like a dead Boy he is serene.55
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