At the Back of the North Wind 121
seems to imply that it is always the month of May in that country. It would be out of place to describe here the wonderful sights he saw, for the music of them is in another key from that of this story, and I shall therefore only add from the account of this traveller, that the people there are so free and so just and so healthy, that every one of them has a crown like a king and a mitre like a priest.
The peasant girl—Kilmeny was her name—could not report such grand things as Durante, for, as the shepherd says, telling her story as I tell Diamond's—
" Kilmeny had been she knew not where, And Kilmeny had seen what she could not declare; Kilmeny had been where the cock never crew, Where the rain never fell, and the wind never blew; But it seemed as the harp of the sky had rung, And the airs of heaven played round her tongue, When she spoke of the lovely forms she had seen, And a land where sin had never been; A land of love and a land of light, Withouten sun, or moon, or night; Where the river swayed a living stream, And the light a pure and cloudless beam: The land of vision it would seem, And still an everlasting dream."
The last two lines are the shepherd's own remark, and a matter of opinion. But it is clear, I think, that Kilmeny must have described the same country as Durante saw, though, not having his experience, she could neither understand nor describe it so well.
Now I must give you such fragments of recollection as Diamond was able to bring back with him.