A horseman on a hilltop green
Drew rein, and wound his horn;
So bright he looked he might have been
The Herald of the Morn.
His steed was of the sovran strain
In Fancy’s meadows bred—
And pride was in his tossing mane,
And triumph in his tread.
The rider’s eyes like jewels glowed—
The World was in his hand—
As down the woodland way he rode
When Spring was in the land.
From golden hour to golden hour
For him the woodland sang.
And from the heart of every flower
A singing fairy sprang.
He rode along with rein so free,
And, as he rode, the Blue
Mysterious Bird of Fantasy
Ever before him flew.
He rode by cot and castle dim
Through all the greenland gay;
Bright eyes through casements glanced at him:
He laughed—and rode away.
The world with sunshine was aflood,
And glad were maid and man,
And through his throbbing veins the blood
In keen, sweet shudders ran.
His steed tossed head with fiery scorn,
And stamped, and snuffed the air—
As though he heard a sudden horn
Of far-off battle blare.
Erect the rider sat awhile
With flashing eyes, and then
Turned slowly, sighing, with a smile,
“0 weary world of men!”
For aye the Bird of Fantasy
Sang magic songs to him,
And deeper and deeper still rode he
Into the Forest Dim.
That rider with his face aglow
With joy of life I see
In dreams. Ah, years and years ago
He parted ways with me!
Yet, sometimes, when the days are drear
And all the world forlorn,
From out the dim wood’s heart I hear
The echo of his horn.
© Victor Daley