Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  The Reed-Player

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Duncan Campbell Scott 1862–1947

The Reed-Player


BY a dim shore where water darkening

Took the last light of spring,

I went beyond the tumult, hearkening

For some diviner thing.

Where the bats flew from the black elms like leaves,

Over the ebon pool

Brooded the bittern’s cry, as one that grieves

Lands ancient, bountiful.

I saw the fire-flies shine below the wood,

Above the shallows dank,

As Uriel, from some great altitude,

The planets rank on rank.

And now unseen along the shrouded mead

One went under the hill;

He blew a cadence on his mellow reed,

That trembled and was still.

It seemed as if a line of amber fire

Had shot the gathered dusk,

As if had blown a wind from ancient Tyre

Laden with myrrh and musk.

He gave his luring note amid the fern;

Its enigmatic fall

Haunted the hollow dusk with golden turn

And argent interval.

I could not know the message that he bore,

The springs of life from me

Hidden; his incommunicable lore

As much a mystery.

And as I followed far the magic player

He passed the maple wood,

And when I passed the stars had risen there,

And there was solitude.