The Crystal Spring. I.

Fair spirit of the plaining sea,
Thou heard'st Apollo's lyre! -
Now folded are thy silver wings
Thee sunward bore,
A dream and a desire.

Ranging the upper azure deeps,
The sunlight on thy wings,
How blanched thy purpose as there fell
The lightning's stroke,
And darkness on all things!


In agony of rain and hail,
And phantom dance of snow,
The chastening angels of the air
To mountain bleak
Consigned thee far below.

There in the arms of heartless frost,
And burdened with thy train,
The keen stars watched thy ageful way,
Till breast of earth
Warmed thee to life again.

And in thy course thou wert God's plow,
Thy furrow deep the valley
Of wooded walls and flowers to be, -
The circling sun
Keeps slow and sure the tally.


Reborn, thou waitedst not far down
The sunless caves to speed -
(Thy twin, lade with unfabled spoils,
Did build the plain,
Or green the expectant mead,

And weave the fabric, forge the plow,
Bear inland steam and sail) -
Or serv'dst, in mines and nether realms
Of shadowland,
The gnomes and genii pale.


II.

O fontal wealth of hasting life,
By stressful toil made sweet,
Stay now thy journey - here oft come
Wild sylvan things,
Here tender lovers meet.


By day the traveller spies the path
To thy o'erbending shade,
Drinks deep the brimming, cooling wave,
A living draught,
And wends his way, remade.

At night the one shy Pleiad drops
Her veil to look within
Thy clear, green-haloed deeps, and sees
Herself more fair
Than all her shining kin.

And, fair with labor's healthy toil,
Each face of yon dear home
Thou'st set within the pearly blue,
Or crocus glow,
Of overarching dome.


And when return world-wandering feet,
Elate, or slow with sorrow,
Thy pencil paints the changing form;
And here clasp hands
The yester year and morrow.

O bright reincarnation, thou!
Though long thy heart, like fire,
Burned to mount upward and away
To sun and sky,
A dream and a desire,

Here, here thy place and service too, -
'Tis heaven by thee to sup,
To see the great red sun drop down,
The stars swim out, -
O Nature's loving cup!


III.

And here the crystal spring abides -
Yet passes to the sea,
There to renew the broken task
Of long ago,
Now joyous task and free.

Fair spirit of the bourneless waves,
Glad voice in their sad choir,
Sweeter 'mid sorrow's dirge to blend
The note of cheer,
Than list Apollo's lyre!

The sunbeams kiss the plaining deep,
Wreathe with innumerous smiles
The sounding waters as they meet, -
While sister sprites
Wake laughter round the isles.


And ever as the rolling moon
The unanchored sea forth-swings,
The poet's ear may catch anew
The gladsome notes,
Notes of the crystal springs.

And when he sits this spring beside,
Worn with the journey's strife,
He cannot help but think of HIM
Of Jacob's well,
FOUNT of the deathless life.

The Crystal Spring. by Theodore Harding Rand