Ethereal, faint that music rang,
As, with the bosom of the breeze,
It rose and fell and murmuring sang
I turned; again the mournful chords,
In random rhythm lightly flung
From off the wire, came shaped in words;
And thus meseemed, they sung:
"I, messenger of many fates,
Strung to the tones of woe or weal,
Fine nerve that thrills and palpitates
With all men know or feel, -
"Is it so strange that I should wail?
Leave me my tearless, sad refrain,
When in the pine-top wakes the gale
That breathes of coming rain.
"There is a spirit in the post;
It, too, was once a murmuring tree;
Its withered, sad, imprisoned ghost
Echoes my melody.
"Come close, and lay your listening ear
Against the bare and branchless wood.
Can you not hear it crooning clear,
As though it understood?"
I listened to the branchless pole
That held aloft the singing wire;
I heard its muffled music roll,
And stirred with sweet desire:
"O wire more soft than seasoned lute,
Hast thou no sunlit word for me?
Though long to me so coyly mute,
Her heart may speak through thee!"
I listened, but it was in vain.
At first, the wind's old wayward will
Drew forth the tearless, sad refrain.
That ceased; and all was still.
But suddenly some kindling shock
Struck flashing through the wire: a bird,
Poised on it, screamed and flew; the flock
Rose with him; wheeled and whirred.
Then to my soul there came this sense:
"Her heart has answered unto thine;
She comes, to-night. Go, speed thee hence:
Meet her; no more repine!"
Perhaps the fancy was far-fetched;
And yet, perhaps, it hinted true.
Ere moonrise, Love, a hand was stretched
In mine, that gave me - you!
And so more dear to me has grown
Than rarest tones swept from the lyre,
The minor movement of that moan
In yonder singing wire.
Nor care I for the will of states,
Or aught beside, that smites that string,
Since then so close it knit our fates,
What time the bird took wing!