anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence chomped the grasses
Of the forest's ferny floor.
a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the traveller's head:
And he smote upon the door a second time;
"Is there anybody there?" he said.
no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
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:
thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
he suddenly smote the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:-
"Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word," he said.
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:
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.
Walter De La Mare