Walter de la Mare
IS there anybody there? said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champd the grasses
Of the forests ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Travellers head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
Is there anybody there? he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leand over and lookd into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexd and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirrd and shaken
By the lonely Travellers call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
Neath the starrd and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:
Tell them I came, and no one answerd,
That I kept my word, he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.