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Literary Class Poem

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And so all thro' the night the stream sang on, A thread of pathos in its plaintive song, Anotethal moved the sleeping prinee to tears, And vet he woke not, butclasped tighter yét The peasant hand that lay upon his heart. And in his sleep his white breast rose and feil In tremhling cadenees of pain ; and he, That other one, moved restlessly and moaned. And all the night the stream's pervasive plaint Resounded thro' the silent wood till dawn. At last the sable mantle of the night, That lay upon the forest like a pall Was lifted at the edges and the light, Faint as a tinrid ghost, carne stealiug thro' the wood, And kissed the sleeping flowers with her pale lips, And peered half scared into the placid spring, Afrighted at the picture of her own gray face ; And sighed as on the forehead of the two, The prince and peasant sleeping side by side, She pressed her lips, grim herald ot their partiog day. And then a bird, that all night long had slept Upon a birch tree near the spring, awoke And piped his tuneful greeting to the dawn. The prince sighed softly in his sleep and then His eyelids fluttered and he woke, nor rose But lay there looking upward at the bird, That swayed and swung in ecstasy of song Among the wild crab branches overhead. And all those happy days forever pássed Carne trooping back again, and, as once more In lingering thought he lived their quiet joys, A flood of feeling overwhelmed his soul. For he had come froni many a league to South In quest of this far-fabled spring, whose se stream Eternal flowing from the heart of earth Bestowed the Wisdom of the gods on him that drank. Full many t day the mountain paths he climbed Or pierced the dewey twilight of souie wood, Now trod a weary stretch of dusty road, Xow passed with lingering i'eet the shady ford. Full niany a mght his sanaai strap sne loosed, And bathed his weary liuibs in new fallen dew, Then lay till dawn among the sleeping flowérs. Until one even when the low sun's rays Shoiie' the birqh trees like great bars of gold There carne a low, sweet murniur thro' tl ie wood, A quiet, all-pervading melody, As if sonie pure-souled maiden sang a song ïhat had the buoyant happiness of youth And" yet the depth of thoughtful womanhood. The princé Hke one enchanted hastened on, And ever as he went the murniur grew, 'Till of a sudden thro' the parting trees He carne upon au opening in the wood, "Where stalwart oaks and bireh trees stood aaide And bowed tbeir mighty heads in reverence Like noble worshipers at soine rude iorest shrine. It was a grassy place, the green all strewu With buttercups, and in the midst the spring, A silver disk rimmed round with green and gold And from its side went winding thro' the wood The little stream whose plaint filled all the air. A youth sat there beside the rnystic fount And gazed like one bewildered at bis form Ilefleeted in the mirror of 'the spring. A noble face had he with dark, deep eyes, And stal wart figure worthy of a god, Yet rudely ciad, a simple leopard skin Girt round his-shapely limbs - a humble swaili, Bilt ás hekneeled there motionless, the suh Kiséed his bröwn shoulders and his sunburned hair Until he seemed astatue turned to gold. The wondering prince advanced and from his lute One 1oy, sweet note he plucked. The dreainer roused, And gazing at the prinoe with puzzled eyes, ' " Conu' hither, pray," he said, "Canst teil me wliat this means ?" And tlien the twaih kneeled there beside the spring And likc(l a while in silence at its depths. For on its surface theirtwo faces 'peared, Distorted and confused to strange, fantastic shapes. And in his ear'nest wonder éach forgot That his companion differed from himself, That one was simply girt in leopard skin, The otherwrapped in garments fine as silk And brilliant witli the glow of thrice dipped rel. And there together days and days they dweil And sipped the magie waters of the spring, Or thro' tlie long sti 11 hours sat by its brim And studied in its depths their faces strange, Xciw silent lor a measured course of time, Or now in low, hushed voice comimmtng there, Half puzzled ut the meaning of it all. And as eách day dawned o'er the silent wood The faces in the spring took on a, form That more and more bore semblance to their own. And as witli common interest day by day They strove to solve the puzzle of the spring, Their souls were lifted far above themselves And in the world of dreanis in which they lived Their hearts were fettered by the golden bonds of love, And 'twixt them sprpng a friendship, Imly and sincere, That seemed i reated for eternitv. Hut now at last the parting day had come. The first gray ghost of light liad Lid the dark be gulle, And beckoning from the hill-tops toward the East Had grimly called the impatient dawn to advance. And with her rustling garmenta as she passed She roused theprince wbo all thatclear, cool night Had rested on a fragrant couch of bloom Beneath the wild erab tree, whose falling flowers Strevved all the dewy green with pink and white. The prince awoke half conscious of a pain That dull and undefined filled all his heart. A while he lay there motionless and sad And watcbed the wild crab blossoms whirl and fall Beneath the light caressing breath of dawn. Then, raised on elbow, studied long that face That he had learned to love so passing well, And reaching softly for the slumbering lute, That lay half buried in the wild crab bloom, I He touched caressingly its strings and ït awoke. And tliro' the sleeping wood resounded low A sweet, plaint melody as he did chant In notes of teuderness this quaint, old song : Once there was a thistle-down, "White and fair, Sailing in her dainty gown Up in the air. Sighing to herself, " Dreary is the world and brown, " Oh," 'said the thisüe-down, Flying by oneself. Then there carne a breeze along Hastening on his flight. Bringing vvith his gentle song Another thistle sprite. Then the two together flew ; Heart to heart were pressing ; All the world with beauties new Siniled at their caressing. " Oh," said the thistle sprite, Sof tl y to her friend, (i Cheery is the world and bright AVhen with thee I wend." Only for an hour or two Side by side ; Up came the wind and blew Thro' the heavens, wide. Parted then the thistle sprites East and AVest ; Seeking in their lonely flights A quiet place of rest. But as all alone she flew Thro' the twilight shadows, While from heaven feil the dew O'er the weary meadows, Sighed the dainty thistle sprite, " Ah, while on ['m flying The memory of that hours' delight Shall bless till hour of dying." The lute was silent. Ere its echoes ceased , A smile fled 'cross the sleeping peassant' face, And then a sigh convulsed the great brown lireast, And ironi beneath those heavy lids a tear Came stealing down his cheek and he awoke. The long wet laslies rose and he looked up And smiled into the prinee's face above, A s'weet, pathetic smile, as when the sun Comes suining gently turo' uie warm, spring rain. The prince smiled back, and tho' they neither spoke Yet each divined wliat other felt and thought. Until at last they left their couch of bloom, And rising shook the dew drops froin their hair, And bound their sandals to their cool, moist feet. Then they twain hand in hand, stood reverent and still, And watched the suu rise thro' the net of tcees. The whole wood glowed with glad expectancy, Art so of holy reverence at the dawn, Till e'en the spring hushed low its mystie song. And íike a benediction o'er iiplifted souls The light came stealing o'er the waiting earth. And then the sun, a great round disk of llame, First veiled in endless mist, the filmy robes Of those attendant spirits of the dawn, Went mounting up the East with stately pace. When "flrst the warm, sweet light above the trees Stooped down to kiss the lifted faces of the two, The prince andpeasant, speeehless still, tnrned round And gazed into each other's eyes. A moment thus In deep communion silently they stood. And then, their souls uplifted by a holy pain, They sought with lingering feet the spring again. And there tógether by its grassy brim They kneeled in silence for the last, last time. And far beueath them in those sacred depths They saw their own two faces gazing up With mournful eyes at them, and as they looked Behold! a heavenly visión fllled the Bpring And their two souls, rèvealed before their eyes As stars oí crystal buiig in shimmering green, Witn dazzling brightaess lit the deep, dark pool. And for each wondering heart at last was solved The mvstic puzzle oí hijnself, as he beh'eld The golden chaina that bound him to the world and God. A moment ónly and the visum (led And in its place "their 'aces came again. " The visión bids us part, Oh prince ! Up then, away ! To act is life. My soul is fired with holy zeal. To act, to do, to be ! Oh friend ! " The peasaut spoke, and all his noble face Was glowing with tbc light of eagerness. The prince in silence turned away his head. " To part? " he said, and in the mirrored spring Tlie peasant saw his thin lip quiver, aiid a tear Made all the surface tremble as in sympathy. " And s there then in life, Oh friend, on plaue For sacred friendships like our own, no hour For scral-uplifting love like thine and iniiip? Tu act? - Oh friend, and never then to fee! '.' Then is life sure hut torture for a heart like mine." The peasant gently put his hand on liis And from hiseyes adeeper visión shone. " Oh prince, look not upon the world as thro' a glass Made gloomy by the suffering of thine heart. Thou, in thy pain, dost fail tounderstand. Our friendship hatli preoared us for our life, Far more than e'er the waters of this spring, Yea more than e'en its visión of the crystal stars, For we no loiiger look upon a world Obscured beneath the veil of our conceits. To thee has come a broader visión, and to me E'en vonder crab tree - sheltering friend ! - Seenthro' thine eyes becomes the rarest thing, More precióos than a thousand tapestries of gold. And tho' in years to come in some far spot all my days I turn the stubborn glebe And drive the oxen 'neatli the burnished sun, My goad shíill be my sceptre and the world My reahn. I still shall be a king as thou, And e'en the great, green-bodied flies, that tease The oatient oxen bonding to their toil. Will have a meaning deep as all eternity. For in the days of youth my simple soul Was lifted from itself, made one with tinne. And thou wilt be ten thousand times a king, For when thou passest on some roya] pilgrimage, The liuinble peasants bowing reverently Among the dusty weeds beside the road, In every tattered, crouching, suppliant form, Thou wilt behokl one equal to thyself." The peasant ceased, the prince looked up at him and smiled. '' And dost thou see it thus, Oh friend ? " he said, " Perchance then, too, this very pain shall serve To bring us nearer to our fellow-men." One last, long parting look into the spring, And then they rose in silence side by side, And for the moment their two souls were one. As in that last communion reverently they stood All Nature hushed her mystic murmur as to list To catch therhythm of their heart-beats ere they spoke. At last the peasant with a sad, sweet smile " Farewell, dear friend," and he, the prince, Half choking as he turned away, " Farewell." Then from the spring reluctantly they turned, The peasant Northward, and the prince to South. And lingeringly they picked their pathway thro' the fern, Oft looking back to where the lonely spring Still glistened thro' the net of trees and vin es, And thro' the fragrant twilight of the wood Each strained his eyes to catch the last. last üliinpse Of him whom he had learned to love so well. The peasant saw a gleam of purple thro' the leaves, The prince the shadow of a dark, fine face. Then on they plodded, halting oft to list With bated breath, their hearts half comfort ed If yet the far off murmur of the spring, Like some sweet, dying memory of the past, Carne floating thro' the wood. And when it long had ceased, Still in their hearts its echoes rose and feil. Until at last e'en this imagined song Is hushed, and with a gasp of pain they list, But hear no sound taro' all the lonely wood Save the crying crickets and therustling wind. And still thro' all the long, warm days the stream sang on, A note of expectation in its plajntive son;;, I As if it dreamed of those who yet would ; come To linger for a day beside its brim. And from its crooked trunk the wild crab tree Reached out its laden branches to w'ard the Spring To watch its fruit grow round and f uil, and blush Beneath the kisses of the morning sun.


Old News
Ann Arbor Courier