Floating Down The River.

By Walter R. Cassels

My little bark glides steadily along,
Still and unshaken as a summer dream;
And never falls the oar into the stream,
For ’tis but morning, and the current strong;
So let the ripples bear me as they will;
Sweet, sweet is Life, and every sound is song;
Sorrow lies sleeping, and Joy sends me still
Swift floating down the River.

Bright shines the sun athwart the linden-trees;
One little cloud alone steals o’er the sky,
As o’er the widening stream below steal I,
Fann’d by the same faint perfume-laden breeze;
Bird-music answers sweetly through the air,
The unheard warbling of heart melodies;
Thus go I dreaming, free from faintest care,
Swift floating down the River.

Pure lie the broad-leaved lilies on the tide,
With glowing petals in the midst, that rest
Like the gold shower on Danae’s lovely breast;
And the tall rushes cluster on the side.
Ho! sweet-lipp’d lily, thou must be my prize–
Thus shall I pluck thee in thy beauty’s pride!
Fail’d–all too steadily my shallop hies,
Swift floating down the River.

The stream fast widens, and upon the shore
Rise busy hamlets ‘mid the falling woods,
Filling their shorn and broken solitudes,
With labour’s clamour ever more and more:
No more, no more in dreams of love all day,
Rich set in music from the forests hoar,
Now gaily speeds my untoss’d bark away,
Swift floating down the River.

Let me take oar, and turn mine eager prow,
Back to the quiet waveless source again,
Where no harsh sound breaks on the dreaming brain,
And winds steal softly round the careless brow,–
Swift as a dream my tiny bark hath gone,
And stoutly though I ply the oar, yet now
My weary shallop still goes sadly on,
Swift floating down the River.

Ah! never more for me–Ah! never more
Return those blessed morning hours again;
The sun beats hotly on my throbbing brain,
And no cool shade waves friendly from the shore:
My feeble oar dips powerless utterly,
And onward, onward, though I struggle sore,
Still goes my bark towards the surging sea,
Swift floating down the River.

Welcome art thou, O cool and fragrant eve!
Welcome art thou, though night pursue thee fast
With thee the burning and the toil roll past,
And there is time to gaze back and to grieve.
Hoarse ocean-murmurs fall upon mine ears,
And round me now prophetic billows heave,
As on I go, out-looking through salt tears,
Swift floating down the River,
Swift floating to the Sea.

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