The Philter

“ A DRAUGHT of water, maiden fair,”
I said to the girl beside the well.
Oh, sweet was the smile on her face of guile,
As she gave me to drink,—that witch of hell!

I drank, and sweet was the draught I drank,
And thanked the giver, and still she smiled ;
And her smile like a curse on my spirit sank,
Till my face grew wan, and my heart grew wild.

And lo ! the light from the day was gone,
And gone was maiden, and gone was well :
The dark instead, like a wall of stone,
And rivers that roared through the dark, and fell.

Was it the draught, or was it the smile,
Or my own false heart ? Ah, who shall tell ?
But the black waves beat at my weary feet,
And sits at my side the witch of hell.