It is the bittern’s solemn cry
Far out upon the lonely moors,
Where steel-gray pools reflect the sky,
And mists arise in dim contours.
Save this, no murmur on their verge
Doth stir the stillness of the reeds;
Silent the water-snakes emerge
From writhing depths of water-weeds.
Through sedge or gorse of that morass
There shines no light of moon or star;
Only the fen-fires gleam and pass
Along the low horizon bar.
It is the bittern’s solemn cry,
As if it voiced, with mournful stress
The strange hereditary sigh
Of age on age of loneliness.