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Violet

BESIDE the dusty road of life,
Deflower'd with toil and foul with strife,
Lie hid within a charm of dew
Pure harbours made for me and you.

In such a shadowy nook is set
Rest's purple-winged violet;
It nods upon the fitful breeze
Born in the fount's interstices;--

That fount of joy for travellers made,
Ensconc'd within a dappled shade,
Where still its wings our violet lifts
Beneath the pulsing air that shifts;--

The little fount that bubbles there
Under a veil of maiden-hair,
And coils through many a liquid fold
Its crystal waters dusk and cold.

So small the fount, a hidden thing,--
So weak the violet's throbbing wing,--
The haughty world in dust rides by,
Without a thought, without a sigh.

Loud, in a riot of speed and glare,
About their noisy work men fare;
With shriek of engine, yell of horn,
They glorify a world new-born.

We love the old, the timid ways,
The loose bough shutting out the blaze,
The murmur of an ancient rhyme,
Heard faintly in the ear of Time.

And spirits, here and there, who still
Prefer the mill-stream to the mill,
To riot, quiet, and to speed
The dance of rooted water-weed.

Across a rood or two of grass,
Unseen, into our realm will pass,
Will lean above the whispering spring,
And hear the hidden runnel sing.

And then the crimson cheek will choose
The rainbow of the pulsing dews;
Then silence calm the 'wilder'd brain,
And life grow sanctified again.

Sir Edmund William Gosse