Hymn of the Forests
by Fiona MacLeod (William Sharp)
We are the harps which the winds play,
A myriad tones in one vast sound
That the earth hearkens night and day–
A ceaseless music swaying round
The whole wide world, each voiceful tree
Echoing the wave-chants of the sea.
For even as inland waves that moan
But break not ‘midst the unflowing green
Our trees are: and when tempests groan
And howl our frantic boughs between,
Our tumult is as when the deep
Struggles with winds that o’er it sweep.
‘Neath bitter northern skies we stand,
Silent amidst the unmelting snows,
Gaunt warders of the desolate land
Silent, save when the keen wind blows
The drifting wreaths about our feet,
Then moan we mournful music sweet.
Or in vast ancient woods of beech
Far south we make Spring’s dearest home
The haunt of myriad songsters, each
A living flow’r made free to roam
From bough to bough, and thence we send
A forest-music without end.
‘Neath tropic suns and ceaseless glow
With orient splendours we are filled:
‘Midst Austral solitudes we grow,
Where seldom human voice has thrilled:
And ever and where’er we rise
We chant our ancient harmonies.
For aye the sea sings loud and long
In strange and solemn mystery
A wonderful transmitted song–
The echo of all history–
This song o’er all earth’s lands we sing
While round the circling seasons swing.