[The Lily Swan]
The Lily Swan sings just once
In Life, and this,
Just before Death.
I've heard played the sweet,
Warbling note near the reedy creek.
I came nearer then,
And saw her far-seeing
Glance not at me, only before;
I caught a long eye-worth
Of that proud-neck'd bird
Trebling in lonely solicitude
Of that fate coming silently,
Yet for her song did nobly wait.
The blue noon's sky dimmed
As her head dipped; the lonely rushes
Bent and o'erswayed the other,
Sounded like mourners,
Weavers of spun funeral fire.
Her sad voice stayed over the
Meadow and weeping field;
She lived to see what companion
To dying the rushes might yield:
'tis only I, slow-gliding swan,
Who've only come to listen that once,
As has the wind, patient and long.
Ye, who see death and yet still
Soft moves along, sing plaintively;
The stream wherein ye had some of your life
Before time meddled away your lot,
Now scorns ye what ye lived.
Finish! Sweet song-champion!
And hie ye forward on,
Sing plain—'tis death awaits,
And death none can stray too far along—
Or death comes quick and bold
To take from us life which we hold—
She sang her last song, she knew,
And moved on.