Ye saw the echoing hours go by, long-drawn,
Nor ever stirred, watching the fathomless eyes,
And with your countless clear antiphonies
Filling the earth and heaven, even till dawn,
Last-risen, found you with its first pale gleam,
Still with soft throats unaltered in your dream.
And slowly as we heard you, day by day,
The stillness of enchanted reveries
Bound brain and spirit and half-closed eyes,
In some divine sweet wonder-dream astray;
To us no sorrow or upreared dismay
Nor any discord came, but evermore
The voices of mankind, the outer roar,
Grew strange and murmurous, faint and far away.
Morning and noon and midnight exquisitely,
Wrapt with your voices, this alone we knew,
Cities might change and fall, and men might die,
Secure were we, content to dream with you,
That change and pain are shadows faint and fleet,
And dreams are real, and life is only sweet.
I heard the city time-bells call
Far off in hollow towers,
And one by one with measured fall
Count out the old dead hours;
I felt the march, the silent press
Of time, and held my breath;
I saw the haggard dreadfulness
Of dim old age and death.
O sun, shine hot on the river;
For the ice is turning an ashen hue,
And the still bright water is looking through,
And the myriad streams are greeting you
With a ballad of life to the giver,
From forest and field and sunny town,
Meeting and running and tripping down,
With laughter and song to the river.
Oh! the din on the boats by the river;
The barges are ringing while day avails,
With sound of hewing and hammering nails,
Planing and painting and swinging pails,
All day in their shrill endeavor;
For the waters brim over their wintry cup,
And the grinding ice is breaking up,
And we must away down the river.
Oh! the hum and the toil of the river;
The ridge of the rapid sprays and skips:
Loud and low by the water’s lips,
Tearing the wet pines into strips,
The saw mill is moaning ever.
The little grey sparrow skips and calls
On the rocks in the rain of the water falls,
And the logs are adrift in the river.
Oh! restlessly whirls the river;
The rivulets run and the cataract drones:
The spiders are flitting over the stones:
Summer winds float and the cedar moans;
And the eddies gleam and quiver.
O sun; shine hot, shine long and abide
In the glory and power of the summer tide
On the swift longing face of the river.