Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. II. Love
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume II. Love.  1904.
VI. Lovers
Fetching Water from the Well
EARLY on a sunny morning, while the lark was singing sweet,
Came, beyond the ancient farm-house, sounds of lightly tripping feet.
’T was a lowly cottage maiden going,—why, let young hearts tell,—
With her homely pitcher laden, fetching water from the well.
Shadows lay athwart the pathway, all along the quiet lane,        5
And the breezes of the morning moved them to and fro again.
O’er the sunshine, o’er the shadow, passed the maiden of the farm,
With a charmèd heart within her, thinking of no ill or harm.
Pleasant, surely, were her musings, for the nodding leaves in vain
Sought to press their brightening image on her ever-busy brain.        10
Leaves and joyous birds went by her, like a dim, half-waking dream;
And her soul was only conscious of life’s gladdest summer gleam.
At the old lane’s shady turning lay a well of water bright,
Singing, soft, its hallelujah to the gracious morning light.
Fern-leaves, broad and green, bent o’er it where its silvery droplets fell,        15
And the fairies dwelt beside it, in the spotted foxglove bell.
Back she bent the shading fern-leaves, dipt the pitcher in the tide,—
Drew it, with the dripping waters flowing o’er its glazèd side.
But before her arm could place it on her shiny, wavy hair,
By her side a youth was standing!—Love rejoiced to see the pair!        20
Tones of tremulous emotion trailed upon the morning breeze,
Gentle words of heart-devotion whispered ’neath the ancient trees.
But the holy, blessèd secrets it becomes me not to tell:
Life had met another meaning, fetching water from the well!
Down the rural lane they sauntered. He the burden-pitcher bore;        25
She, with dewy eyes down looking, grew more beauteous than before!
When they neared the silent homestead, up he raised the pitcher light;
Like a fitting crown he placed it on her hair of wavelets bright:
Emblem of the coming burdens that for love of him she ’d bear,
Calling every burden blessèd, if his love but lighted there.        30
Then, still waving benedictions, further, further off he drew,
While his shadow seemed a glory that across the pathway grew.
Now about her household duties silently the maiden went,
And an ever-radiant halo o’er her daily life was blent.
Little knew the agèd matron as her feet like music fell,        35
What abundant treasure found she fetching water from the well!

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