Let be the river! What does it avail
To struggle with the current's destined course?
The strongest effort does but faint and fail,
Skill yields, out-tired, to resistless force.
The highest rock is overleapt by spray,
The silent waters fret each bar away.
Vainly the bulwark fashioned deep and wide,
New bed contrived, new turn by cunning wrought;
Steady, resistless, onward flows the tide,
Each gathering wave with gathering purpose fraught,
Till, full and free, rejoicing in its strength,
It sweeps to ocean's mighty arms at length.
Let be the river! Let the loved alone
To meet the fate, and shape the circumstance.
We dream the future, fancying all our own,
What does but wait the call of time and chance;
Foredoomed, the path before the pilgrim lies,
The sunset lurking in the morning skies.
Let be the river! Hail its rippling smile,
Listen its song, and shiver to its sigh;
Let its chafed beauty weary hours beguile,
Watch how it darkens to the darkening sky;
We cannot cloud or brighten, speed or check,
Nor alter on its way the tiniest beck.
Let be the river then! Where lilies float,
And blue forget-me-nots beside it shimmer,
Take gladness in its suns' reflected mote,
And soothing from its moonlights' dreamy glimmer;
Happy if still your faltering footsteps tend
Beside its varying currents to the end!