Ho, ye that thirst beside the running stream!
Love is a running stream, whose waters flow
Upon the earth, and who would drink thereof
Must bend him earthwards. There was such an one
Who lay upon his belly in the mire
And was not ashamed. Because he deemed it well
That love, which is the strength of weaker things,
Should make of Man a child. And, while he lay
And summer winds were drowsing in his ears,
The river of his love went rippling by.
And thus he lived, and thus he might have died,
Deaf to his fellows’ scorn, and held it gain
To lie a living corse unburied there
Among the reeds of Time and hidden in
From the world’s stare. But Fate was watching him
With envious eyes; and he had merited
In truth much retribution at her hand.
–Alas that I should have such spite to tell!
She took her vengeance at the fountain head,
And made a desolation in the land.
And how he dreamed and half outwitted Fate,
Because his mind was single in his love;
And how she took the pitiless winds in pay
And set a wrack of clouds upon their back;
And how, because she could not master him,
She turned the waters of his love away;
And how that man arose up from his lair,
Foul with the ooze and with a beard grown grey
Through his long shame; and how he turned and fled
From the sun’s face to dwell among the tombs,
I would relate. And, if in simple words
How some have learned the nakedness of truth,
The carelessness of God, Man’s cruelty
And their own folly, it would be a tale
To chill the lust of Youth and bend the knees
Of Manhood’s pride before the strength of Fate
Which conquers all;–And this I think would be
The sum of human tragedy on Earth.
–But who am I to stay the wings of Death
And pluck a feather out and write such things?