A Night at Corfu

Aubrey Thomas de Vere

A HOARY gleam through boughs prevailing

  Tells me how near the ocean lies,

    Here caged in many a waveless lake

    By cypressed ridge and shadowy brake:

Far off the nightingale is wailing:

  More near the watery grot replies.


The forest growths are rocked and dandled

  By airs with midnight odors faint,

    Soft, separate airs, o’er feathered grass

    That pass me often and repass,

Like naked feet of nymphs unsandalled

  That tread each lawn and alley quaint.


No voice is heard of mortal creature!

  No voice,—yet I am not alone:

    Nausicaa and her virgin train

    Still haunt the woodland, skirt the main,

And deck for me with human feature

  Each glimmering branch and white-browed stone.


When with those maids the exile sported

  The fireflies lit, as now, the glen:

    That rose its blush to-day which gave

    And bosom to the aspiring wave,

Descends from one old Ocean courted,

  On the same cliff it may be, then!


I see not now those hills whose summits

  In August keep their ermined robes;

    But feel their freshness, know that round

    They gird the steely gulfs profound

With feet that mock the seamen’s plummets,

  And foreheads crowned with starry globes.


But see! vast beams divide the heaven;

  The orange-groves their blossoms show;

    Over yon kindling deep the Moon

    Will lash her snowy coursers soon:

Now, by her brow the east is riven!

  And now the west returns the glow!

Main Location:

Corfu, Greece