The Song of Arda

A poem by Henry Kendall

Low as a lute, my love, beneath the call
Of storm, I hear a melancholy wind;
The memorably mournful wind of yore
Which is the very brother of the one
That wanders, like a hermit, by the mound
Of Death, in lone Annatanam. A song
Was shaped for this, what time we heard outside
The gentle falling of the faded leaf
In quiet noons: a song whose theme doth turn
On gaps of Ruin and the gay-green clifts
Beneath the summits haunted by the moon.
Yea, much it travels to the dens of dole;
And in the midst of this strange rhyme, my lords,
Our Desolation like a phantom sits
With wasted cheeks and eyes that cannot weep
And fastened lips crampt up in marvellous pain.

A song in whose voice is the voice of the foam
And the rhyme of the wintering wave,
And the tongue of the things that eternally roam
In forest, in fell or in cave;
But mostly ’tis like to the Wind without home
In the glen of a desolate grave
Of a deep and desolate grave.

The torrent flies over the thunder-struck clift
With many and many a call;
The leaves are swept down, and a dolorous drift
Is hurried away with the fall.
But mostly ’tis like the Wind without home
In the glen of a desolate grave
Of a deep and desolate grave.

Whoever goes thither by night or by day
Must mutter, O Father, to Thee,
For the shadows that startle, the sounds that waylay
Are heavy to hear and to see;
And a step and a moan and a whisper for aye
Have made it a sorrow to be
A sorrow of sorrows to be.

Oh! cover your faces and shudder, and turn
And hide in the dark of your hair,
Nor look to the Glen in the Mountains, to learn
Of the mystery mouldering there;
But rather sit low in the ashes and urn
Dead hopes in your mighty despair
In the depths of your mighty despair.

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