Cicely Fox Smith
Royal Music - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
Sweet in the leafy woods the round
Of singing birds in June;
And sweet on wintry hills the sound
Of hounds that chime in tune -
The sound that is the very soul
Of cleanly upland days,
Where men still walk the kindly earth
In the old kindly ways.
Whether beneath the scurrying wrack
The heartening cry is borne
By snatches down the piping gale,
Or breaks the windless morn,
No heart but answers to the call,
That once, through sun and shower,
Has followed far o'er dale and hill
For hour on flying hour.
Now where from moorlands drenched with mist
The streams run noisily,
Some cleft amid the lonely hills
Brims o'er with melody:
Now where the open hillside sweeps
To the free skyline's bound,
Adown the bare brown fields they drive,
A living, wave of sound.
'To Mindful, hark!' - and true as bells
Across a wintry sky
Each voice takes up its wonted note
In well-accustomed cry.
Now Fencer, Fairmaid fill the strain
With challenge shrill and keen,
And steady as a church-bell's note
Old Mindful chimes between.
No fiddler's note that sets the tune
For lads' and lasses' feet
E'er left to haunt the years to come
A memory half so sweet
As here this music fit for kings
Beneath God's open sky,
Where horn and hound hunt care away
And the good winds go by.
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