The Canal and the Brook

Miss Vardill

The proud Canal serene and deep
Beneath it saw the streamlet creep — 
“Haste! babbler, haste thee on,” it cried
“Thou emblem of cold Wisdom’s pride!
Go, steal they winding way along,
With gilded pebbles make thy song;
Regale the sunburnt shepherd’s flock
Or tinkle through the barren rock — 
Feed if thou canst yon humble flow’r
Companion of thy little hour
Then slumber in thy parent earth
Hid by the clay that gave thee birth!”

Submissive paus’d the modest brook
And whisper’d thus its mild rebuke:
“Unsure I win my quiet way,
Unheard ’midst honied wildflow’rs play — 
My music soothes the lonely ear
My gifts the cottage banquet cheer
But though thro’ dim and devious gloom
I murmur now, — the hour shall come
When in a region bland & bright
My peaceful stream shall burst to light
And mingle with the boundless sea
Of Life and Joy’s Eternity!”

“Such is my doom — and what is thine
Thou miracle of art divine!
Condemn’d the gaudy frights to bear
Of shallow pomp and sordid care
While iron bondage quells thy force
And slaves like thee direct they course,
Thy giant arches shall decay
Thy borrow’d flood shall pass away;
Ambition’s vassal sons shall see
Their glories shrink to dust like thee
While to free Ocean’s breast is given
The semblance and the light of Heaven!”