A. E. Housman: The Merry Guide

The Merry Guide

Once in the wind of morning  I ranged the thymy wold; The world-wide air was azure  And all the brooks ran gold.
There through the dews beside me  Behold a youth that trod, With feathered cap on forehead,  And poised a golden rod.
With mien to match the morning  And gay delightful guise And friendly brows and laughter  He looked me in the eyes.
Oh whence, I asked, and whither?  He smiled and would not say, And looked at me and beckoned  And laughed and led the way.
And with kind looks and laughter  And nought to say beside We two went on together,  I and my happy guide.
Across the glittering pastures  And empty upland still And solitude of shepherds  High in the folded hill,
By hanging woods and hamlets  That gaze through orchards down On many a windmill turning  And far-discovered town,
With gay regards of promise  And sure unslackened stride And smiles and nothing spoken  Led on my merry guide.
By blowing realms of woodland  With sunstruck vanes afield And cloud-led shadows sailing  About the windy weald,
By valley-guarded granges  And silver waters wide, Content at heart I followed  With my delightful guide.
And like the cloudy shadows  Across the country blown We two face on for ever,  But not we two alone.
With the great gale we journey  That breathes from gardens thinned, Borne in the drift of blossoms  Whose petals throng the wind;
Buoyed on the heaven-heard whisper  Of dancing leaflets whirled From all the woods that autumn  Bereaves in all the world.
And midst the fluttering legion  Of all that ever died I follow, and before us  Goes the delightful guide,
With lips that brim with laughter  But never once respond, And feet that fly on feathers,  And serpent-circled wand.