A Riddle of the Thames

At windows that from Westminster
Look southward to the Lollard's Tower,
She sat, my lovely friend. A blur
Of gilded mist—('twas morn's first hour)—
Made vague the world: and in the gleam
Shivered the half-awakened stream.

Through tinted vapour looming large,
Ambiguous shapes obscurely rode.
She gazed where many a laden barge
Like some dim-moving saurian showed.
And 'midst them, lo! two swans appeared,
And o'er the waters proudly steered.

Two stately swans! What did they there?
Whence came they? Whither would they go?
Think of them—things so faultless fair—
Mid the black shipping down below!
On, through the rose and gold, they passed,
And melted in the morn at last.

Ah, can it be, that they had come,
Where Thames in sullied glory flows,
Fugitive rebels, tired of some
Secluded lake's ornate repose,
Eager to taste the life that pours
Its muddier wave 'twixt mightier shores?

We ne'er shall know: our wonderment
No barren certitude shall mar.
They left behind them, as they went,
A dream than knowledge ampler far;
And from our world they sailed away
Into some visionary day.

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