Alien Waters

I WANDERED along beside the alien waters,
For summer suns were warm, and winds were dead:
Fields fair as hope were stretching on before me,
Forbidden paths were pleasant to my tread.

From boughs that hung between me and the heavens
I gathered summer fruitage, red and gold:
For me, the idle singers sang of pleasure:
My days went by like stories that are told.

On my rose-tree grew roses for my plucking,
As red as love, or pale as tender pain, —
I found no thorns to vex me in my garlands:
Each day was good, and no rose bloomed in vain.

Sometimes I danced, as in a dream, to music,
And kept quick time with many flying feet,
And some one praised me in the music's pauses,
And very young was life, and love was sweet.

How could I listen to the low voice calling,
" Come hither, — leave thy music and thy mirth? "
How could I stop to hear of far-off Heaven?
I lived, and loved, and was a child of earth.

Then came a hand and took away my treasures,
Dimmed my fine gold, cut my fair rose-tree down,
Changed my dance music into notes of wailing,
Quenched the bright day, and turned my green fields brown.

Till, walking lonely through the empty places
Where Love and I no more kept holiday,
My sad eyes, growing wonted to the darkness,
Beheld a new light shining far away:

And I could bear my hopes should lie around me,
Dead like my roses, fall'n before their time, —
For well I knew some tender Spring would raise them
To brighter blossoming in Hope's fair clime.
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