Three Sisters—and the youngest
Was lovelier to see
Than wild flower palely blooming
Under Ygdrasil Tree;

Than this well at the woodside
Whose waters silver show,
Though in womb of the blind earth
Ink-like, ebon, they flow.

Creeps on the belled bindweed;
The bee, in hoverings nigh,
Sucks his riches of nectar;
Clouds float in the sky;

And she, O pure vanity,
Newly-wakened, at that brink,
Crouches close, smiling dreamlike,
To gaze, not to drink.

She sees not earth's morning
Darkly framed in that cold deep:
Naught, naught but her beauty
Made yet fairer by sleep.

And though glassed in that still flood
She peer long, and long,
As faithful stays that image,
As echo is to song …

Anon—in high noontide
Comes her sister, wan with fear,
Lest the love in her bosom
Even the bright birds should hear

Wail divine grieved enchantment.
She kneels; and, musing, sighs;
Unendurable strangenesses
Darken the eyes

That meet her swift searchings.
From her breast there falls a flower.
Down, down—as she ponders—
The fair petals shower,

Hiding brow, mouth, cheek—all
That reflected there is seen.
And she gone, that Mirror
As of old rests serene. . . .

Comes moth-light, faint dusk-shine,
The green woods still and whist;
And their sister, the eldest
To keep her late tryst.

Long thought and lone broodings
Have wanned, have withered, lined
A face, without beauty,
Which no dream hath resigned

To love's impassioned grieving.
She stands. The louring air
Breathes cold on her cheekbone,
Stirs thief-like her hair;

And a still quiet challenge
Fills her dark, her flint-grey eyes,
As she lifts her bowed head
To survey the cold skies.

Wherein stars, hard and restless,
Burn in station fore-ordained,
As if mocking for ever
A courage disdained.

And she stoops wearied shoulders,
Void of scorn, of fear, or ruth,
To confront in that well-spring
The dark gaze of Truth.
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