Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 9/On the river
ON THE RIVER.
Side by side in our tiny skiff
Floating along with the tide,
My love and I watched the fading light
Of the summer eve die into the night,
And the moon through her queendom glide.
Floating along where the flexile trees
To the river’s brink had grown;
And with drooping branches the waters brushed
As in mimic rapids they brawled and rushed
On a fallen tree or a stone.
Then I turned away from the starry heavens
To gaze in my dear one’s eyes;
But they met not mine in their calm repose,
For troubled gleams in their depths arose,
And her smiles gave place to sighs.
Close to my side she shuddering clung,
And told her fears on my breast;
“Beneath these waters that round us play,
The tangled weed and the darkness stay,
And the dead in their shadows rest!
“Side by side could we float for aye,
Calm river and peaceful sky!
But alas! our life like the surface gleams,
But to merge our fates in the turbid streams
That under its surface lie!
“And I shrink, I shrink from the coming storms,
Thy courage may haply brave—
Lest these clinging arms in my selfish dread,
When the smiling moments of youth have fled
May gulph thee, too, in the wave!”
Then up I raised the face of my love
Till the moonbeams tinted her brow;
Till the gloomy shadow of bending trees
And the haze of the night no more she sees,
Nor the treacherous current below.
And the genial warmth of a trusting heart
Came back to her radiant eyes;
And her hand clasps mine, as borne by the tide
Wherever it listeth, through life we glide
Our gaze on the changeless skies!