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And from the realms

Of the shadowy elms

A tide-like darkness overwhelms
The fields that round us lie.

But the night is fair,
And everywhere

A warm, soft vapour fills the air,
And distant sounds seem near;

And above, in the light

Of the star-lit night,

Swift birds of passage wing their flight
Through the dewy atmosphere.

I hear the beat

Of their pinions fleet,

As from the land of snow and sleet
They seek a southern lea.

I hear the cry

Of their voices high

Falling dreamily through the sky,
But their forms I cannot see.

O, say not so!

Those sounds that flow

In murmurs of delight and woe
Come not from wings of birds.

They are the throngs

Of the poet's songs,

Murmurs of pleasures, and pains, and wrongs,

The sound of winged words.

This is the cry

Of souls, that high

On toiling, beating pinions, fly,
Seeking a warmer clime.

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