The Dance Before The Arch
Windy April night-mist swept the Square ;
Lights among the leafage swayed and flashed;
Piquant bosky odors filled the air,
Piquant as a Maenad's flying hair
Late the dripping dogwood buds had lashed.
Then three fared forth together:
A wise old teacher of men,
A poet who laughed with the weather,
And a silent knight of the pen.
They walked in the rain-witched park
While the hours grew small and dark,
And their talk was light as a feather
That Bacchus blows at a mark.
All around, the city-sounds were whist ;
All about, where branches laughed and leapt,
Glints of eyes looked out into the mist,
Little, golden, dancing, rainbow-kissed :
Little shapes and shadows flashed and crept.
Then the sage: "O wonderful weather!
Strange, eerie!" Then he of the pen:
"The pixies are out all together :Valpurgis Nacht
— Bacchus — Amen !"
He waved his arms and inclined
His face to the night, joy-blind.
Then the poet : "Oh, pluck me a feather
From the stretched gray wing of the wind !"
Over asphalt polished by the rain,
Out of mist-swirls iris-splotched with light,
Loomed a sudden beauty, marble, plain,
Arched and sombre, fronting with disdain
All the springtime turmoil of that night.
Then the sage: "The old Arch, in this weather,
Needs garlands." Then he of the pen :
"The lost Roman thing! All together!
Get branches — we're Romans again!"
So they took each boughs in their hands,
Obeying the ancient commands,
When laurel put forth a green feather
And Proserpine gathered her bands.( They marched in a grave, wild measure, )By Allan Updegraff