Subject given—'Light and Shade.'
She stepped upon Sicilian grass,
Demeter's daughter fresh and fair,
A child of light, a radiant lass,
And gamesome as the morning air.
The daffodils were fair to see,
They nodded lightly on the lea,
Lo! one she marked of rarer growth
Than orchis or anemone;
For it the maiden left them both,
And parted from her company.
Drawn nigh she deemed it fairer still,
And stooped to gather by the rill
The daffodil, the daffodil.
What ailed the meadow that it shook?
What ailed the air of Sicily?
She wondered by the brattling brook,
And trembled with the trembling lea.
The coal-black horses rise—they rise:
'O mother, mother!' low she cries—
'O light, light, light!' she cries, 'farewell:
The coal-black horses wait for me.
O shade of shades, where I must dwell,
Demeter, mother, far from thee!