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Let's take this world as some wide scene,
Through which, in frail, but buoyant boat, With skies now dark and now serene,
Together thou and I must float, Beholding oft on either shore,
Bright spots where we should love to stay; But Time plies swift his flying oar,
And away we speed, away, away.
Should chilling winds and rains come on,
We'll raise our awning 'gainst the shower; .. Sit closer till the storm is gone,
And smiling wait a sunnier hour. And if that sunnier hour should shine,
We'll know its brightness cannot stay, But happy, while 'tis thine and mine,
Complain not when it fades away.
So shall we reach at last that Fall
Down which life's currents all must go,-
To sink into the void below.
If, side by side, still fond we keep,
Together linked, go down the steep.
Half sleeping still, I stand among
The silvery, trembling sedges, And hear the river rolling strong,
Through mists that veil its edges.
As on the bank I shiver;
Along this length of river.'
The boat went soft and slow;
And the Boatman looked in my face and smiled : • Thy lids are yet heavy; sleep on, poor child !
Lulled by the drip of the oars I dip, Measured aud musical, sure and steady
Sleep by my side while from home we glide.' And I dreamily murmur, ‘From home already!'
See from the buds of the almond bough
A beautiful fairy rise; Now it skims o'er the glass of the wave, and now
It soars to its kindred skies : Follow its flight, or lost to sight, It will vånish amid the skies !
• My boat cannot flee as thy fairy flees; Ten thousand things with brighter wings Disport in the sun and one by one
are scattered before the breeze.
But only the earliest seen, as now,
Can dazzle deluded eyes;
For thee will a fairy rise!
Which I cut with my careless oar;
Softer and softer, though never less steady.
Both the rose and the beam,
Rising out of the stream,
As from slumber a dream-
My course is closed before the sea.
An angel form that beckons me!
• Thou bad’st me follow a fairy, when
An insect rose from the almond bough;
I may not halt for thy angel now.
To shine evermore, through each change on the shore, And undimmed by each cloud that flits over the skies.'
Side by side thus we whisper—Who loves, loves for ever.'
As wave upon wave to the sea runs the river,
Till we start with a sigh, was it she-was it I-
Who first saw the soft tints of the rose garden fade ? Who first sighed — See the rose-hue is fading already ?' • Boatman, look at the blackening cloud;
Put into yon sheltered creek,
And hark how the thunders break !
*Look up' said the Boatman; “the storm is spent:
No storm on this river outlasts its hour;
In the cloud that gave birth to the thunder shower.
There's a change in myself and the change is chill;
There's a change, O my bride, in thee.
Which nears as we near the sea ?
From her lip the enchanting play,
Has passed from my bride away ;-
The angel has passed away.
They mark the change in the earth and sky,
And that hearts should change with the changing eye;
Plish plash, drop upon drop,
Down the stream still we glide,
Still we sit side by side
Then seems there to float down the length of the way, From the sedges remote, from the rose-garden bay,
From the town and the mart,
From the river's deep heart,
One glimmer of light
One look at the shore and one stroke of the oar,
Sir E Bulwer Lytton.