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The Waterfall and the Eglantine


"Begone, thou fond presumptuous Elf,
Exclaim'd a thundering Voice,
Nor dare to thrust thy foolish self
Between me and my choice!"
A falling Water swoln with snows
Thus spake to a poor Briar-rose,
That all bespatter'd with his foam,
And dancing high, and dancing low,
Was living, as a child might know,
In an unhappy home.

"Dost thou presume my course to block?
Off, off! or, puny Thing!
I'll hurl thee headlong with the rock
To which thy fibres cling."
The Flood was tyrannous and strong;
The patient Briar suffer'd long,
Nor did he utter groan or sigh,
Hoping the danger would be pass'd:
But seeing no relief, at last
He venture'd to reply.

"Ah!" said the Briar, "Blame me not!
Why should we dwell in strife?
We who in this, our natal spot,
Once liv'd a happy life!
You stirr'd me on my rocky bed--
What pleasure thro' my veins you spread!
The Summer long from day to day
My leaves you freshen'd and bedew'd;
Nor was it common gratitude
That did your cares repay."

When Spring came on with bud and bell,
Among these rocks did I
Before you hang my wreath to tell
That gentle days were nigh!
And in the sultry summer hours
I shelter'd you with leaves and flowers;
And in my leaves now shed and gone
The linnet lodg'd and for us two
Chaunted his pretty songs when you
Had little voice or none.

But now proud thoughts are in your breast--
What grief is mine you see.
Ah! would you think, ev'n yet how blest
Together we might be!
Though of both leaf and flower bereft,
Some ornaments to me are left--
Rich store of scarlet hips is mine,
With which I in my humble way
Would deck you many a Winter's day,
A happy Eglantine!

What more he said, I cannot tell.
The stream came thundering down the dell
And gallop'd loud and fast;
I listen'd, nor aught else could hear,
The Briar quak'd and much I fear.
Those accents were his last.

William Wordsworth