When the opal lights in the West had died
And night was wrapping the red ferns round,
As I came home by the woodland side
I heard the cry of a single hound.
The huntsman had gathered his pack and gone ;
The last late hoof had echoed away ;
The horn was twanging a long way on
For the only hound that was still astray.
While, heedless of all but the work in hand,
Up through the brake where the brambles twine.
Crying his joy to a drowsy land
Javelin drove on a burning line.
The air was sharp with a touch of frost,
The moon came up like a wheel of gold ;
The wall at the end of the woods he crossed
And flung away on the open wold.
And long as I listened beside the stile
The larches echoed that eerie sound :
Steady and tireless, mile on mile,
The hunting cry of a single hound.