The Visionary

There is a pool whose waters clear
Reflect not what is standing near;
The silver-banded birch, the grass
Find not therein a looking-glass;
Nor doth Orion, pacing night,
Scatter thereon his wintry light.
Nor ever to its darnelled brink
Comes down the hare or deer to drink;
Sombre and secret it doth keep
Stilled in unshaken, crystal sleep.

But once, a Wanderer, parched, forlorn,
Worn with night-wayfaring, came at morn,
By pathless thickets grey with dew;
And stooping at its margent blue
To lave his wearied eyes, discerned
Somewhat that in the water burned—
A face like amber, pale and still,
With eyes of light, unchangeable,
Whose grave and steadfast scrutiny
Pierced through all earthly memory.
Voiceless and windless the green wood,
Above its shadowy quietude,
Sighed faintly through its unfading leaves;
And still he stooped; and still he yearned
To kiss the lips that therein burned;
To close those eyes that from the deep
Gazed on him, wearied out for sleep.

He drank; he slumbered; and he went
Back into life's wild banishment,
Like one whose every thought doth seem
The wreckage of a wasting dream;
All savour gone from life, delight
Charged with foreboding dark as night;
Love but the memory of what
Woke once, but reawakens not.
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