Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
404. The Brook
By William Wilberforce
A LITTLE blind girl wandering,
  While daylight pales beneath the moon,
And with a brook meandering,
  To hear its gentle tune.
The little blind girl by the brook,        5
  It told her something—you might guess,
To see her smile, to see her look
  Of listening eagerness.
Though blind, a never silent guide
  Flowed with her timid feet along;        10
And down she wandered by its side
  To hear the running song.
And sometimes it was soft and low,
  A creeping music in the ground;
And then, if something checked its flow,        15
  A gurgling swell of sound.
And now, upon the other side,
  She seeks her mother’s cot;
And still the noise shall be her guide,
  And lead her to the spot.        20
For to the blind, so little free
  To move about beneath the sun,
Small things like this seem liberty,—
  Something from darkness won.
But soon she heard a meeting stream,        25
  And on the bank she followed still,
It murmured on, nor could she tell
  It was another rill.
“Ah! whither, whither, my little maid?
  And wherefore dost thou wander here?”        30
“I seek my mother’s cot,” she said,
  “And surely it is near.”
“There is no cot upon this brook,
  In yonder mountains dark and drear,
Where sinks the sun, its source it took,        35
  Ah, wherefore art thou here?”
“O sir, thou art not true nor kind!
  It is the brook, I know its sound.
Ah! why would you deceive the blind?
  I hear it in the ground.”        40
And on she stepped, but grew more sad,
  And weary were her tender feet,
The brook’s small voice seemed not so glad,
  Its song was not so sweet.
“Ah! whither, whither, my little maid?        45
  And wherefore dost thou wander here?”
“I seek my mother’s cot,” she said,
  “And surely it is near.”
“There is no cot upon this brook.”
  “I hear its sound,” the maid replied,        50
With dreamlike and bewildered look,
  “I have not left its side.”
“O go with me, the darkness nears,
  The first pale stars begin to gleam.”
The maid replied with bursting tears,        55
  “It is the stream! it is the stream!”


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