I scoured along the gusty
A quarry for hunting Kelpie men.
But only one could hold at
“Brother, brother, I love thy stride.
“Wilt thou follow thy
whim to win
My merry maid of the goblin kin?”
I swerved from my trail, for
he haunted my ear
With his moaning jibe and his shadowy leer.
So by good hap as we sped
I fetched a circuit back for the well.
Like a spilth of spume on
the crest of the bore
When the combing tides make in for shore,
That runner ran whose love
was a wraith;
But the rider rode with revenge in his teeth.
Another league, and I touch
The mystic rune on the poplar bole,—
When the dusky eyes and the
And the lithe brown arms shall greet me there.
I ran like a harrier on the trace
In the leash of that ghoul, and the wind gave chase.
A furlong now; I caught the gleam
Of the bubbling well with its tiny stream;
An arrowy burst; I cleared the
And—the Kelpie rider bestrode my neck.
* * * * *
Dawn, the still red winter dawn;
I awoke on the plain; the wind was gone;—
All gracious and good as when God
The living creatures, and none was afraid.
I stooped to drink of the wholesome
Under the poplars whispering:
Face to my face in that water
The Kelpie rider’s jabbering leer!
Ah, God! not me: I was
Sainted Louis, who can know
The lords of life from the
slaves of death?
What help avail the speeding breath
Of the spirit that knows not
When the soul is lost that knows not God?
I turned me home by St. Louis’
Where the red sun burns on the windows tall.
And I thought the world was
strange and wild,
And God with his altar only a child.
Again one year in the prime
I came to the well in the heated noon,
Leaving Rochelle with its
red roof tiles
By the Pottery Gate before St. Giles,—
There where the flower market
Where every morning up from Duprisse
The flower girls come by the
long white lane
That skirts the edge of Bareau plain;—
To the North, the city wall
in the sun,
To the left, the fen where the eye may run
And have its will of the blazing
The while I loitered the market through,
Halting a moment to converse
With old Babette who had been my nurse,
There passed through the stalls
a woman, bright
With a kirtle of cinnabar and white