One summer morn, while yet the thrilling lay,
Of the dew-loving lark was full and strong,
Trampling the wild flowers in my careless way,
Up the steep mountain-side I strode along
My only guide, a brook whose joyous song,
Seemed like a boy's light-hearted roundelay,
As down it rushed, the leafy bowers among,
Scattering o'er bud and bloom its pearly spray
A beauteous semblance of life's opening day.
And looking back to that all-gladdening morn,
When I was free and sportive as the stream
When roses blushed with no suspected thorn,
And fancy's sunlight gilded every dream
While hope yet shed its sweet delusive beam,
And disappointment still delayed to warn
With fond regret, I still pursued the theme
With clambering step still up the steep was borne,
Too sad to smile, too pleased perchance to mourn.
And now I stood beside that rivulet's spring,
That came unbidden with a bubbling bound
And stealing forth, a gentle trembling thing,
It seemed an infant fearing all around
Yet clinging to its mother's breast the ground.
But soon it bolder grew, and with a wing
It went: its carol was a joyous sound,
Making the silent woods responsive ring,
And the far forest-echoes, sighing, sing.
And now I stood upon the mountain's height
Like a wide map, the landscape lay unrolled
There could I trace that rivulet's path of light,
From the steep mountain to the sea of gold;
Now leaping o'er the rocks like chamois bold,
Now like a crouching hare concealed from sight,
Now hid beneath the willow's bowering fold,
As if they sought to stay its arrowy flight,
Then give it forth again more swift and bright.
'Twas changeful beautiful; now dark, now fair
A tale of life, from childhood to the tomb
Its birth-place near the skies, in mountain air,
Where wild flowers throw around their sweet perfume,
Like the blest thoughts that often brightly bloom,
At home, beneath a mother's culturing care
Its form now hid in shadows, such as gloom
Our downward way its grave in ocean, where
It mingles with the wave a dweller there!
And though that stream be hidden from the view,
'Tis yet preserved 'neath ocean's briny crest:
That wide eternity of waves is true
And as the planets anchored in their rest,
The sparkling streamlet lives; and while unblest,
The land-wave stagnant lingers there the blue
Tide holds the river stainless in its breast
An image still of life, that sparkles through
The starry deep of heaven, for ever new.