All through the summer night, down the long lane in flower,
The moon-white lane,
All through the summer night,--dim as a shower,
Glimmer and fade the Twain:
Over the cricket hosts, throbbing the hour by hour,
Young voices bloom and wane.
Down the long lane they go, and past one window, pale
With visions silver-blurred;
Stirring the heart that waits,--the eyes that fail
After a spring deferred.
Query, and hush, and Ah!--dim through a moon-lit veil,
The same one word.
Down the long lane, entwined with all the fragrance there;
The lane in flower somehow
With youth, and plighted hands, and star-strewn air,
And muted 'Thee' and 'Thou':--
All the wild bloom and reach of dreams that never were,
--Never to be, now.
So, in the throbbing dark, where ebbs the old refrain,
A starved heart hears.
And silver-bright, and silver-blurred again
With moonlight and with tears.
All the long night they go, down the long summer lane,
The long, long years.
Ah but, Belovèd, men may do
All things to music;--march, and die;
And wear the longest vigil through,
... And say good-by.
All things to music!--Ah, but where
Peace never falls upon the air;--
These city-ways of dark and din
Where greed has shut and barred them in!
And thundering, swart against the sky,
That whirlwind,--never to go by--
Of tracks and wheels, that overhead
Beat back the senses with their roar
And menace of undying war,--
War--war--for daily bread!
All things to silence! Ah, but where
Men dwell not, but must make a lair;--
And Sorrow may not sit alone,
Nor Love hear music of its own;
And Thought that strives to breast that sea
Must struggle even for memory.
Day-long, night-long,--besieging din
To thrust all pain the deeper in!--
And drown the flutter of first-breath;
And batter at the doors of Death.
To lull their dearest:--watch their dead;
While the long thunders overhead,
Gather and break for evermore,
Eternal tides--eternal War,