The Waterfall

DOWN across the green and sunny meadow,
Where the grass hangs thick with glistening dew,—
In the birch-wood’s flickering light and shadow,
Where, between green leaves, the sun shines through,—

Plunging deeper in the wood’s dark coolness,
Where the path grows rougher and more steep,
Where the trees stand thick in leafy fulness,
And the moss lies green in shadows deep:—

Hark ! the wind amid the tree-tops rushing
In a sudden gust along the hills !—
No,—the leaves are still,—’tis water gushing
From some hidden haunt of mountain-rills.

Upward through the rugged pathway struggling,
Loud and louder yet the music grows ;
Near and nearer still, the water’s gurgling
Guides me where o’er moss-grown rocks it flows.

Breathless, for its welcome coolness thirsting,
On I haste, led by the rushing sound,
Till upon my full sight sudden bursting,
Lo, the forest’s hidden treasure found!

See the gathered waters madly leaping,
Plunging from the rocks in headlong chase,
Boiling, eddying, whirling, downward sweeping
All that meets them in their foaming race !

From the broken waters riseth ever,
Fresh and cool, a soft and cloud-like spray ;
And where through the boughs slant sunbeams quiver,
On the mist the sudden rainbows play.

On a branch high o’er the torrent swinging
Sits a bird, with joyful-swelling throat ;—
Only to the eye and heart he’s singing ;
Through the roar below I hear no note.

All the forest seems as if enchanted,
Seems to lie in wondrous stillness bound ;
Hushed its voices, silenced and supplanted,
Interwoven with this ceaseless sound.

Gazing on the whirl of waters meeting,
Dizzy with its rush, I stand and dream,
Till it almost seems my own heart’s beating,
And no more the voice of mountain-stream.