Above St. Irénée

I rested on the breezy height,
In cooler shade and clearer air,
Beneath a maple tree;
Below, the mighty river took
Its sparkling shade and sheening light
Down to the sombre sea,
And clustered by the leaping brook
The roofs of white St Irénée.

The sapphire hills on either hand
Broke down upon the silver tide,
The river ran in streams,
In streams of mingled azure-grey,
With here a broken purple band,
And whorls of drab, and beams
Of shattered silver light astray,
Where far away the south shore gleams.

I walked a mile along the height
Between the flowers upon the road,
Asters and golden-rod;
And in the gardens pinks and stocks,
And gaudy poppies shaking light,
And daisies blooming near the sod,
And lowly pansies set in flocks,
With purple monkshood overawed.

And there I saw a little child,
Between the tossing golden-rod,
Coming along to me;
She was a tender little thing,
So fragile-sweet, so Mary-mild,
I thought her name Marie;
No other name methought could cling
To any one so fair as she.

And when we came at last to meet,
I spoke a simple word to her,
“Where are you going, Marie?”
She answered, and she did not smile,
But oh! her voice,—her voice so sweet,
“Down to St Irénée,”
And so passed on to walk her mile,
And left the lonely road to me.

And as the night came on apace,
With stars above the darkened hills,
I heard perpetually,
Chiming along the falling hours,
On the deep dusk that mellow phrase,
“Down to St Irénée:”
It seemed as if the stars and flowers
Should all go there with me.
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