A Ditty Of No Tone.

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Piped to the Spirit of John Keats.

I.

Would that my lips might pour out in thy praise
A fitting melody - an air sublime, -
A song sun-washed and draped in dreamy haze -
The floss and velvet of luxurious rhyme:
A lay wrought of warm languors, and o'er-brimmed
With balminess, and fragrance of wild flowers
Such as the droning bee ne'er wearies of -
Such thoughts as might be hymned
To thee from this midsummer land of ours
Through shower and sunshine blent for very love.


II.

Deep silences in woody aisles wherethrough
Cool paths go loitering, and where the trill
Of best-remembered birds hath something new
In cadence for the hearing - lingering still
Through all the open day that lies beyond;
Reaches of pasture-lands, vine-wreathen oaks,
Majestic still in pathos of decay, -
The road - the wayside pond
Wherein the dragonfly an instant soaks
His filmy wing-tips ere he flits away.


III.

And I would pluck from out the dank, rich mould,
Thick-shaded from the sun of noon, the long
Lithe stalks of barley, topped with ruddy gold,
And braid them in the meshes of my song;
And with them I would tangle wheat and rye,
And wisps of greenest grass the katydid
Ere crept beneath the blades of, sulkily,
As harvest-hands went by;
And weave of all, as wildest fancy bid,
A crown of mingled song and bloom for thee.

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