The speaker is outdoors and looking across a valley with a castle, a lake, a waterfall, and snow-capped mountains beyond. But he's not alone! The sound of a bugle horn echoes and dies across the valley. He listens again, more carefully—the horns he hears are the horns of "Elfland," and they continue to echo and fade. He strains to hear them and feels a deep connection to those notes, but still, they fade.