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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By Thomas Buchanan Read (1822–1872)

DOWN behind the hidden village, fringed around with hazel brake,

(Like a holy hermit dreaming, half asleep and half awake,

One who loveth the sweet quiet for the happy quiet’s sake,)

Dozing, murmuring in its visions, lay the heaven-enamored lake.

And within a dell where shadows through the brightest days abide,

Like the silvery swimming gossamer by breezes scattered wide,

Fell a shining skein of water that ran down the lakelet’s side,

As within the brain by beauty lulled, a pleasant thought may glide.

When the sinking sun of August, growing large in the decline,

Shot his arrows long and golden through the maple and the pine;

And the russet-thrush fled singing from the alder to the vine,

While the cat-bird in the hazel gave its melancholy whine;

And the little squirrel chattered, peering round the hickory bole,

And, a-sudden like a meteor, gleamed along the oriole;—

There I walked beside fair Inez, and her gentle beauty stole

Like the scene athwart my senses, like the sunshine through my soul.

And her fairy feet that pressed the leaves, a pleasant music made,

And they dimpled the sweet beds of moss with blossoms thick inlaid:

There I told her old romances, and with love’s sweet woe we played,

Till fair Inez’s eyes, like evening, held the dew beneath their shade.

There I wove for her love ballads, such as lover only weaves,

Till she sighed and grieved, as only mild and loving maiden grieves;

And to hide her tears she stooped to glean the violets from the leaves,

As of old sweet Ruth went gleaning ’mid the Oriental sheaves.

Down we walked beside the lakelet: gazing deep into her eye,

There I told her all my passion! With a sudden blush and sigh,

Turning half away with look askant, she only made reply,

“How deep within the water glows the happy evening sky!”

Then I asked her if she loved me, and our hands met each in each,

And the dainty, sighing ripples seemed to listen up the reach;

While thus slowly with a hazel wand she wrote along the beach,

“Love, like the sky, lies deepest ere the heart is stirred to speech.”

Thus I gained the love of Inez, thus I won her gentle hand;

And our paths now lie together, as our footprints on the strand;

We have vowed to love each other in the golden morning land,

When our names from earth have vanished like the writing from the sand!