'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.'