Black shadows fall From the lindens tall,
That lift aloft their massive wall
Against the southern sky;
And from the realms
Of the shadowy elms
A tide-like darkness overwhelm
The fields that round us lie.
But the night is fair,
And everywhere A warm,
soft vapor fills the air,
And distant sounds seem near;
And above, in the light Of the star-lit night,
Swift birds of passage wing their flight
Through the dewy atmosphere.
I hear the beat Of their pinions feet,
As from the land of snow and sleet
They seek a southern lea.
I hear the cry Of their voices
high Falling dreamily through the sky,
But their forms I cannot see.
Oh, say not so!
Those sounds that flow In murmurs of delight
and woe Come not from wings of birds.
They are the throngs Of the poet's songs,
Murmurs of pleasures, and pains, and wrongs,
The sound of winged words.
This is the cry Of souls,
that high On toiling, beating pinions,
fly, Seeking a warmer clime.
From their distant flight
Through realms of light
It falls into our world of night,
With the murmuring sound of rhyme.