ONCE a ripple came to land
In the golden sunset burning—
Lapped against a maiden’s hand,
By the ford returning.
Dainty foot and gentle breast—
Here, across, be glad and rest.
“Maiden, wait,” the ripple saith;
“Wait awhile, for I am Death!”
“Where my lover calls I go—
Shame it were to treat him coldly—
’Twas a fish that circled so,
Turning over boldly.”
Dainty foot and tender heart,
Wait the loaded ferry-cart.
“Wait, ah, wait!” the ripple saith;
“Maiden, wait, for I am Death!”
“When my lover calls I haste—
Dame Disdain was never wedded!”
Ripple-ripple round her waist,
Clear the current eddied.
Foolish heart and faithful hand,
Little feet that touched no land.
Far away the ripple sped,