by Hervey Allen
TO JOHN LIVINGSTON LOWES
Water deep-drawn, from springs of Xanadu
Draining through vales of thought worn smooth by time,
The blue-coat boy so loved, I bring to you,
Good baptist in the living source of rhyme.
Whether by hidden sources of the Nile
Or in the page of Purchas it be found,
It must be sought, you know, mile after mile,
By its prophetic voices underground.
Wells that are dug to tap it silt with sand,
Tho' always damply hopeful at the first,
Yet neither avid haste nor toil suffice
To reach that water, not in any land,
Save where the miracle of rare device
Lets fall its shadow on the cure-of-thirst.
Hence mine must be diminished, something spoiled,
Like water from the Jordan to baptize
A famished soul with dampness, yet I toiled
Like every pilgrim for believing eyes —
So any fragrance of the incense trees,
So moisture faintly fresh with honeydew
Cling to the cruse I bring it in — if these
Diffuse absolving grace from Xanadu,
I shall not think my pilgrimage a shame,
Since you will know at least the stars held true
I marched all night by. Heavy was the toll
The avid, thirsty days took; I went lame
And saved but little home, but take the dole,
Remembering the spring from which it came.
Last updated September 05, 2017