ONE morn, when the Day-god, yet hidden
By the mist that the mountain enshrouds,
Was hoarding up hyacinth blossoms,
And roses, to fling at the clouds;
I saw from the casement, that northward
Looks out on the Valley of Pines,
(The casement, where all day in summer,
You hear the drew drop from the vines),
White shapes ’mid the purple wreaths glancing,
Like the banners of hosts at strife;
But I knew they were silvery pennons
Of boats on the River of Life.
And I watched, as the, mist cleared upward,
Half hoping, yet fearing to see
On that rapid and rock-sown River,
What the fate of the boats might be.
There were some that sped cheerily onward,
With white sails gallantly spread
Yet ever there sat at the look-out,
One, watching for danger ahead.
No fragrant and song-haunted island,
No golden and gem-studded coast
Could win, with its ravishing beauty,
The watcher away from his post.
When the tempest crouched low on the waters,
And fiercely the hurricane swept,
With furled sails, cautiously wearing,
Still onward in safety they kept.
And many sailed well for a season,
When river and sky were serene,
And leisurely swung the light rudder,
’Twixt borders of blossoming green.
But the Storm-King came out from his caverns,
With whirlwind, and lightning, and rain;
And my eyes, that grew dim for a moment,
Saw but the rent canvas again.
Then sorely I wept the ill-fated!
Yea, bitterly wept, for I knew
They had learned but the fair-weather wisdom,
That a moment of trial o’erthrew.
And one in its swift sinking, parted
A placid and sun-bright wave;
Oh, deftly the rock was hidden,
That keepeth that voyager’s grave!
And I sorrowed to think how little
Of aid from, a kindly hand,
Might have guided the beautiful vessel
Away from the treacherous strand.