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Under The Waterfall

Written by: Thomas Hardy | Biography
 | Quotes (33) |
 'Whenever I plunge my arm, like this, 
In a basin of water, I never miss 
The sweet sharp sense of a fugitive day 
Fetched back from its thickening shroud of gray. 
Hence the only prime 
And real love-rhyme 
That I know by heart, 
And that leaves no smart, 
Is the purl of a little valley fall 
About three spans wide and two spans tall 
Over a table of solid rock, 
And into a scoop of the self-same block; 
The purl of a runlet that never ceases 
In stir of kingdoms, in wars, in peaces; 
With a hollow boiling voice it speaks 
And has spoken since hills were turfless peaks.'

'And why gives this the only prime 
Idea to you of a real love-rhyme? 
And why does plunging your arm in a bowl 
Full of spring water, bring throbs to your soul?'

'Well, under the fall, in a crease of the stone, 
Though precisely where none ever has known, 
Jammed darkly, nothing to show how prized, 
And by now with its smoothness opalized, 
Is a grinking glass: 
For, down that pass 
My lover and I 
Walked under a sky 
Of blue with a leaf-wove awning of green, 
In the burn of August, to paint the scene, 
And we placed our basket of fruit and wine 
By the runlet's rim, where we sat to dine; 
And when we had drunk from the glass together, 
Arched by the oak-copse from the weather, 
I held the vessel to rinse in the fall, 
Where it slipped, and it sank, and was past recall, 
Though we stooped and plumbed the little abyss 
With long bared arms. There the glass still is. 
And, as said, if I thrust my arm below 
Cold water in a basin or bowl, a throe 
From the past awakens a sense of that time, 
And the glass we used, and the cascade's rhyme. 
The basin seems the pool, and its edge 
The hard smooth face of the brook-side ledge, 
And the leafy pattern of china-ware 
The hanging plants that were bathing there.

'By night, by day, when it shines or lours, 
There lies intact that chalice of ours, 
And its presence adds to the rhyme of love 
Persistently sung by the fall above. 
No lip has touched it since his and mine 
In turns therefrom sipped lovers' wine.'



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