When leaf and flower are newly made,
And bird and butterfly and bee
Are at their summer posts again;
When all is ready, lo! 'tis she,
Suddenly there after soft rain -
The deep-lashed dryad of the shade.
Shadow! the fairest gift of June,
Gone like the rose the winter through,
Save in the ribbed anatomy
Of ebon line the moonlight drew,
Stark on the snow, of tower or tree,
Like letters of a dead man's rune.
Dew-breathing shade! all summer lies
In the cool hollow of thy breast,
Thou moth-winged creature darkly fair;
The very sun steals down to rest
Within thy swaying tendrilled hair,
And forest-flicker of thine eyes.
Made of all shapes that flit and sway,
And mass, and scatter in the breeze,
And meet and part, open and close;
Thou sister of the clouds and trees,
Thou daintier phantom of the rose,
Thou nun of the hot and honeyed day.
Misdeemed art thou of those who hold
Darkness thy soul, thy dwelling place
Night and its stars; nay! all of light
Wert though begot, all flowers thy face,
And, hushed in thee, all colours bright
Hide from the noon their blue and gold.
Thy voice the song of hidden rills,
The sigh deep-bosomed silence heaves
From the full heart of happy things, -
The lap of water-lily leaves,
The noiseless language of the wings
Of evening making strange the hills.