They haunt me, they tease me with hinted
Withheld revelations,
The songs that I may not utter;
They lead me, they flatter, they woo me.
I follow, I follow, I snatch
At the veils of their secrets in vain-
For lo! they have left me and vanished,
The songs that I cannot sing.

There are visions elusive that come
With a quiver and shimmer of wings;-
Shapes shadows and shapes, and the murmur
Of voices;-
Shapes, that out of the twilight
Leap, and with gesture appealing
Seem to deliver a message,
And are gone 'twixt a breath and a breath;-
Shapes that race in with the waves
Moving silverly under the moon,

And are gone ere they break into foam on the rocks
And recede;-
Breathings of love from invisible
Blown somewhere out in the tender
That die on the bosom of Silence;-
And fleeter than thought,
Vaguer than thought or emotion,
What are these visitors?

Out of the vast and uncharted
Realms that encircle the visible world,
With a glimmer of light on their pinions,
They rush . . .
They waver, they vanish,
Leaving me stirred with a dream of the ultimate
A sense of the ultimate music,
I never shall capture;-

They are Beauty,
Formless and tremulous Beauty,

Beauty unborn;
Beauty as yet unappareled
In thought;
Beauty that hesitates,
Withdraws from the verge of birth,
Retreats from the portals of life;-
O Beauty for ever uncaptured!
O songs that I never shall sing!