Edmund Clarence Stedman

1833-1908

 

The Hillside Door

by Edmund Clarence Stedman

Sometimes within my hand
A Spirit puts the silver key
Of Fairyland:
From the dark, barren heath he beckons me,
Till by that hidden hillside door,
Where bards have passed before,
I seem to stand.

The portal opens wide:
In, through the wondrous, lighted halls,
Voiceless I glide
Where tinkling music magically falls,
And fair in fountained gardens move
The heroes, blest with love
And glorified.

Then by the meadows green,
Down winding walks of elf and fay,
I pass unseen:
There rest the valiant chieftains wreathed with bay;
Here maidens to their lovers cling,
And happy minstrels sing,
Praising their queen.

For where yon pillars are,
Aid birds with tuneful voices call,
There shines a star, --
The crown she wears, the Fairy Queen of all!
Led to that inmost, wooded haunt
By maidens ministrant,
I halt afar.

O joy! she sees me stand
Doubting, and calls me near her throne,
And waves her wand,
As in my dreams, and smiles on me alone.
O royal beauty, proud and sweet!
I bow me at her feet
To kiss that hand:

Ah woe! ah, fate malign!
By what a rude, revengeful gust,
From that fair shrine
Which holds my sovran mistress I am thrust!
Then comes a mocking voice's taunt
Crying, Thou fool, avaunt!
She is not thine!

And I am backward borne
By unseen awful hands, and cast,
In utter scorn,
Forth from that brightness to the midnight blast:
Not mine the minstrel-lover's wreath,
But the dark, barren heath,
And heart forlorn.

Source:

The Blameless Prince, And Other Poems
Copyright 1869
Fields, Osgood, and Co., Boston
 
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