Ariel and Caliban
Christopher Pearse Cranch
ALL day within me, sweet and clear
The song you sang is ringing.
At night in my half-dreaming ear
I hear you singing, singing.
Ere thought takes up its homespun thread
When early morn is breaking,
Sweet snatches hover round my bed
And cheer me when awaking.
The sunrise brings the melody
I only half remember,
And summer seems to smile for me,
Although it is December.
Through drifting snow, through dropping rain,
Through gusts of wind, it haunts me.
The tantalizing old refrain
Perplexes, yet enchants me.
The mystic chords that bore along
Your voice so calmly splendid,
In glimmering fragments with the song
Are joined and vaguely blended.
I touch my instrument and grope
Along the keys' confusion,
And dally with the chords in hopes
To catch the sweet illusion.
In vain of that consummate hour
I court the full completeness,
The perfume of the hidden flower,
The perfect bloom and sweetness.
Of strains that were too rich to last
A baffled memory lingers.
The theme, the air, the chords have passed;
They mock my voice and fingers.
They steal away as sunset fires
Lose one by one their flashes,
And cheat the eye with smouldering pyres
And banks of gray cloud-ashes.
And yet I know the old alloy
That dims and disentrances
The golden visions and the joy
Of hope's resplendent fancies
Can never touch that festal hour
In soul and sense recorded,
Though scattered rose leaves from your bower
Alone my search rewarded.
The unconnected strains alone
Survive to bring you nearer,
As when our queen of song and tone
Made vassals of each hearer.
Yet through the night and through the day
The notes and chords are ringing.
Their echo will not pass away —
I hear you singing — singing.