Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
 
IV. Inland Waters: Highlands
Song of the River
Charles Kingsley (1819–1875)
 
CLEAR and cool, clear and cool,
By laughing shallow and dreaming pool;
Cool and clear, cool and clear,
By shining shingle and foaming weir;
Under the crag where the ouzel sings,        5
And the ivied wall where the church-bell rings,
Undefiled for the undefiled;
Play by me, bathe in me, mother and child!
 
Dank and foul, dank and foul,
By the smoky town in its murky cowl;        10
Foul and dank, foul and dank,
By wharf, and sewer, and slimy bank;
Darker and darker the further I go.
Baser and baser the richer I grow;
Who dare sport with the sin-defiled?        15
Shrink from me, turn from me, mother and child!
 
Strong and free, strong and free,
The flood-gates are open, away to the sea:
Free and strong, free and strong,
Cleansing my streams as I hurry along        20
To the golden sands and the leaping bar,
And the taintless tide that awaits me afar,
As I lose myself in the infinite main,
Like a soul that has sinned and is pardoned again,
Undefiled for the undefiled;        25
Play by me, bathe in me, mother and child!
 
 
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