The black night showed its hungry teeth,
And gnawed with sleet at roof and pane;
Beneath the door I heard it breathe
A beast that growled in vain.
The hunter wind stalked up and down,
And crashed his ice-spears through each tree;
Before his rage, in tattered gown,
I saw the maid moon flee.
There stole a footstep to my door;
A voice cried in my room and there!
A shadow cowled and gaunt and hoar,
Death, leaned above my chair.
He beckoned me; he bade me rise,
And follow through the madman night;
Into my heart's core pierced his eyes,
And lifted me with might.
I rose; I made no more delay;
And followed where his eyes compelled;
And through the darkness, far away,
They lit me and enspelled.
Until we reached an ancient wood,
That flung its twisted arms around,
As if in anguish that it stood
On dark, unhallowed ground.
And then I saw it cold and blind
The dream, that had my heart to share,
That fell, before its feet could find
Its home, and perished there.