In the golden sunbeams standing,
When the world was young, in the olden time,
And the people heard his melodies chime
Their tones with the echoes banding;
Men listened, rapt, as he struck the strings,
And women wept at their whisperings;
But the Poet stood in that olden time,
When the drones were drowsily humming,
In the summer of eld, the fair golden prime,
And sang of the time that was coming.
Winter came, and the world grew old,
The snow fell chilling and numbing;
But the Poet stood singing, soothfast and bold --
Away through creation his harmonies rolled,
And told of the time that was coming;
Men would not hear, and hurriedly passed --
For wild was the wind and bleak was the blast;
And women but listened anon and afar,
Or simpered, "The singer is mumming!"
But loud pealed his song, like a rune from a star,
And caroll'd the time that was coming.
Aged is the Poet, and silver-haired,
Yet this day he stands a-singing --
He is noble and poor; his limbs are half bared,
But his heart is warm, and hath never despaired;
Sonorous his voice, clear, and ringing;
Men will not heed, or cruelly jeer --
Women refuse him one womanly tear:
They cry, "He sings nought of business and gold,
List not to the Vagabond's strumming!"
But through the wide world swells and thrills as of old,
His song of the time that is coming.
First published in The Bulletin, 26 September 1885