An Experience

A COMMON spring of water, sudden welling,
Unheralded, from some unseen impelling,
Unrecognized, began his life alone.
A rare and haughty vine looked down above him,
Unclasped her climbing glory, stooped to love him,
And wreathed herself about his curb of stone.
Ah, happy fount! content, in upward smiling,
To feel no life but in her fond beguiling,
To see no world but through her veil of green!
And happy vine, secure, in downward gazing,
To find one theme his heart forever praising,—
The crystal cup a throne, and she the queen!
I speak. I grew about him, ever dearer;
The water rose to meet me, ever nearer ;
The water passed one day this curb of stone.
Was it a weak escape from righteous boundings,
Or yet a righteous scorn of false surroundings ?
I only know I live my life alone.
Alone ? The smiling fountain seems to chide me,—
The constant fountain, rooted still beside me,
And speaking wistful words I toil to hear :
Ah, how alone ! The mystic words confound me ;
And still the awakened fountain yearns beyond me,
Streaming to some unknown I may not near.
“ Oh, list,” he cries, “ the wondrous voices calling!
I hear a hundred streams in silver falling;
I feel the far-off pulses of the sea.
Oh, come ! ” Then all my length beside him faring,
I strive and strain for growth, and soon, despairing,
I pause and wonder where the wrong can be.
Were we not equal ? Nay, I stooped, from climbing,
To his obscure, to list the golden chiming,
So low to all the world, so plain to me.
Note, ’twere some broad fair streamlet, onward tending,
Should mate with him, and both, serenely blending,
Move in a grand accordance to the sea.
I tend not so ; I hear no voices calling;
I have no care for rivers silver-falling;
I hate the far-off sea that wrought my pain.
Oh for some spell of change, my life new-aiming!
Or best, by spells his too much life reclaiming,
Hold all within the fountain-curb again!