The wind with fœtid muzzle sniffed its feast,
The carrion town, that lulled its crowds to rest
Like the sprawled carcase of some giant beast
That hives the rustling larvæ in its breast.
When the cold moon rose glinting from the fen
And snailed her slime of fire along the hill,
Insomnia, the Muse of angry men,
To other themes had chid my faithless quill.
But wide I flung the shutters on their hinges
And watched the moon as from the gilded mire
Where the black river trails its reedy fringes,
She fished her shadow with a line of fire.
Against her light the dusty palms were charred;
The frogs, her faithless troubadours, were still,
Alone, it seemed, I kept my trusty guard
Over the stone-grey silence of the hill,
Till a starved mongrel tugging at his chain
With fearful jerks, hairless and wide of eye,
From where he crouched, a thrilling spear of pain,
Hurled forth his Alleluia to the sky.
Fierce tremors volted through his bony notches
And shook the skirling bag-pipe of his hide--
Beauty has still one faithful heart who watches,
One last Endymion left to hymn her pride!
Sing on, lone voice! make all the desert ring,
My listening spirit kindles and adores...
Such were my voice, had I the heart to sing,
But mine should be a fiercer howl than yours!"
Why Leaders Can't Help Us.