What time I paced, at pleasant morn, A deep and dewy wood, I heard a mellow hunting-horn Make dim report of Dian's lustihood Far down a heavenly hollow. Mine ear, though fain, had pain to follow: `Tara!' it twanged, `tara-tara!' it blew, Yet wavered oft, and flew Most ficklewise about, or here, or there, A music now from earth and now from air. But on a sudden, lo! I marked a blossom shiver to and fro With dainty inward storm; and there within A down-drawn trump of yellow jessamine A bee Thrust up its sad-gold body lustily, All in a honey madness hotly bound On blissful burglary. A cunning sound In that wing-music held me: down I lay In amber shades of many a golden spray, Where looping low with languid arms the Vine In wreaths of ravishment did overtwine Her kneeling Live-Oak, thousand-fold to plight Herself unto her own true stalwart knight.
As some dim blur of distant music nears The long-desiring sense, and slowly clears To forms of time and apprehensive tune, So, as I lay, full soon Interpretation throve: the bee's fanfare, Through sequent films of discourse vague as air, Passed to plain words, while, fanning faint perfume, The bee o'erhung a rich, unrifled bloom: "O Earth, fair lordly Blossom, soft a-shine Upon the star-pranked universal vine, Hast nought for me? To thee Come I, a poet, hereward haply blown, From out another worldflower lately flown. Wilt ask, `What profit e'er a poet brings?' He beareth starry stuff about his wings To pollen thee and sting thee fertile: nay, If still thou narrow thy contracted way, -- Worldflower, if thou refuse me -- -- Worldflower, if thou abuse me, And hoist thy stamen's spear-point high To wound my wing and mar mine eye -- Nathless I'll drive me to thy deepest sweet, Yea, richlier shall that pain the pollen beat From me to thee, for oft these pollens be Fine dust from wars that poets wage for thee. But, O beloved Earthbloom soft a-shine Upon the universal Jessamine, Prithee, abuse me not, Prithee, refuse me not, Yield, yield the heartsome honey love to me Hid in thy nectary!" And as I sank into a dimmer dream The pleading bee's song-burthen sole did seem: "Hast ne'er a honey-drop of love for me In thy huge nectary?"