by Robert Laurence Binyon

Laurence Binyon

The stag that lifted up his kingly head
Upon the silent mountains, and from far
Beneath him heard the confident harsh cry
Of men invading his old solitudes,
Then bounding over the rough slopes has climbed
By dancing brooks remoter ranges, thick
With forests moaning in the cloudy winds
Of desolate November, nor has stayed
Till on the utmost craggy ledge, among
Wet boughs, with antlers dripping from the mist
And with sweat--darkened, quivering coat he snuffs
Wide--nostrilled the wild air, where motionless
He stands at last; what shudder as of joy
Deeply to breathe that native loneliness
Possesses him! From reddened oaks around
Lost leaves are torn innumerably and whirled,
Fast as from hearts of men their fearful hopes,
Into the drizzling gulf; he hears beyond
From cliffs that dimly tower in abrupt
Strange precipices, the world--ancient roar
Of headlong torrents: now the vapour rolls
Blank over all, now rending it a gust
Reveals by golden glimpses the pale stream
Poured in a trembling pillar, at whose foot
The snowy seethe shoots forward and recoils
For one tumultuous moment, then again
Arches into one pure unfretted wave
And sends a voice in splendour down the gorge.

Last updated January 14, 2019