WE were long since a family, a people,
The legends say ; an old kind-hearted king Was our foster-father, and our life a fable.
Nature in wrath broke through the grassy ring Where all our gathered treasures lay in sleep— Many a rich and many a childish thing.
She filled with hoofs and horns the quiet keep.
Her herds beat down the grass and nosed the shrine In bestial wonder—bull and adder and ape, Lion and fox, all dressed.by fancy fine In human shape and armed with arrows and spears ; But on the brow of each a secret sign That haughtily put aside the sorrowing years Or struck them down in stationary rage: Yet they had tears that were not like our tears, And new, all new, for Nature knows no age. Fatherless, sonless, heartless haunters, they Had never known the vow and the pilgrimage, Poured from one fount into the faithless day. We are their sons ; yet long ago we heard Our fathers or our fathers' fathers say As in a dream the half-remembered word That rounded again the ring where sleeping lay Our treasures, still unrusted and unmarred.