Archive for November 16th, 2014

Sunday, 16 November 2014

On a Harp Playing in a London Fog by Ernest Percival Rhys

What Ariel, far astray, with silver wing,
Upborne with airy music, silver-sweet,
Haunts here the London street? —
And from the fog, with harping string on string,
Laughs in the ear, and spurs the lagging feet,
While Caliban-like, London sulks, though all the stars should sing.

Such mystic harping once its silvery scale
Ran in grey Harlech, and on Merlin’s Hill,
Where listening fancy still
Can hear it, like some song in fairy-tale;
And still in Broceliaunde the oak-trees will
Repeat its lingering sighing strain to many a cold sea-vale.

Here harps the mystic noise should make the dead
Of London wake, and all its walls have ears;
As when in Troy the spears
Rang in the streets, by Helen’s beauty sped:
Here harps the song of Merlin, or the spheres:
But London sleeps, unmoved, and dreams his other dreams instead.

So may he sleep, — the waking hour unknown,
When Ariel’s song shall end what it began,
And waken Caliban.
And yet, who knows, his sleep is lighter grown
By half-a-song’s weight, since that chiming ran,
Athwart the fog, like thistledown o’er misty uplands blown.

From: Rhys, Ernest, A London Rose and Other Rhymes, 1894, Elkin Mathews & John Lane: London, pp. 9-10.

Date: 1894

By: Ernest Percival Rhys (1859-1946)