The stream was deeper than I thought,
When first I ventured near;
I stood upon its sloping edge
Without a rising fear.
It woke in ripples at my feet,
As breezes quick swept by,
And caught the sunlight on its face,
Like blossoms from the sky.
It sang its quiet May-day song
To its old summer tune;
And weeping willow boughs above
Shook to the glowing noon.
It seemed to stop, then eddied on;
It smiled up to the day;
It deepened, then spread out its waves,
And stole in light away.
O streams of earthly love and joy,
On whose green banks we dwell,
Ye gleam in beauty to the eye,
And promise fair and well!
Ye charm the sunbeams from the air,
The fragrance from the flowers,
The blossoms from the budding tree,
The wealth of summer hours.
Ye bid us come and take them all
From your enchanted blue;
Ye tell us but to stoop and taste
The joy, and scent, and hue.
Ye lure us, and we venture in,
Cheated by sun and smiles;
Ye tempt us, and we brave your depths,
Won by your winning wiles.
Too deep and strong for us! We glide
Down your deceiving wave;
Like men by siren song beguiled
On to a siren grave.
O world, with all thy smiles and loves,
With all thy song and wine,
What mockery of human hearts,
What treachery is thine!
Thou woundest, but thou cannot heal,
Thy words are warbled lies;
Thy hand contains the poison cup,
And he who drinks it dies.
O world, there’s fever in thy touch,
And frenzy in thine eye;
To lose and shun thee is to live,
To win thee is to die!