Home  »  library  »  Song  »  Henry Kendall (1839–1882)

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

Henry Kendall (1839–1882)


A Tributary of the Clarence River

THE STRONG sob of the chafing stream,

That seaward fights its way

Down crags of glitter, dells of gleam,

Is in the hills to-day.

But far and faint a gray-winged form

Hangs where the wild lights wane—

The phantoms of a bygone storm,

A ghost of wind and rain.

The soft white feet of afternoon

Are on the shining meads;

The breeze is as a pleasant tune

Amongst the happy reeds.

The fierce, disastrous, flying fire,

That made the great caves ring,

And scarred the slope, and broke the spire,

Is a forgotten thing.

The air is full of mellow sounds;

The wet hill-heads are bright;

And down the fall of fragrant grounds

The deep ways flame with light.

A rose-red space of stream I see,

Past banks of tender fern;

A radiant brook, unknown to me,

Beyond its upper turn.

The singing silver life I hear,

Whose home is in the green

Far-folded woods of fountains clear,

Where I have never been.

Ah, brook above the upper bend,

I often long to stand

Where you in soft, cool shades descend

From the untrodden land;

But I may linger long, and look,

Till night is over all—

My eyes will never see the brook,

Or strange, sweet waterfall.

The world is round me with its heat,

And toil, and cares that tire:

I cannot with my feeble feet

Climb after my desire.