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CONVERSATION WITH THE WOMAN
I. “ The water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” - John iv. 14. 'T was early summer; and the glare of noon Shot fiercely down upon the earth. The breeze Whisper'd in invitation, as it stirr'd Among the leaves of this deep solitude, When first I wander'd hither; and the shade Of lofty rock and leafy covert, wooed My fainting spirit, and my sinking steps. The purling waters of a streamlet, too, Won me to enter here, and breathe the air That played upon their surface, and imbibe The coolness of their source. Gladly I turn’d, And traced the seldom trodden path that wound Along the bank, holding its tangled way Mid lowly brier with wild flower interwoven, And under the thick bows of ivied elms.
Here, in the very bosom of the dell, Amid its wildest loneliness, there stands A single, towering, moss-grown rock, whose clefts Shelter the first pale cowslip of the spring, And, here and there, a slender hyacinth. Under the grey rock's base, a giant elm Hath forced his sturdy roots, and upward flung
His broad trunk full upon its flinty breast.
- Bending o'er the roots Of the majestic tree, I drank. The draught Was cool and pure, fraught with returning life.
Here was a time to lie, and muse, and dream Of that primeval age of happiness, When cooling breezes, and refreshing springs, And fruits and flowers, made Eden paradise ; When man was innocent; and had not brought Upon his soul the alternate light and shade, The moment's brilliance, and the long deep gloom, Which, all too late, he learned to be the sum Of the high vaunted bliss of knowing good And evil.
Summer was in her sickly wane. A drought Had parch’d the earth ; a hot and feverish air
Breathed over nature, and dried up her freshness.
So fares it with the unhappy man who seeks
of the waters of that fount Which flows exhaustless from the lips of Truth. Here is no giddy, brief, deceptive draught. Taste but the stream, and it becomes a well Within you, springing up to life eternal."
“ God is a spirit.” – John iv. 24.
Not now on Zion's height alone
From every place below the skies,
To Thee shall age, with snowy hair,
And childhood lisp, with reverent air,
Oh Thou to whom in ancient time
III. Spirit! whose life-sustaining presence fills Air, ocean, central depths, by man untried, Thou for thy worshippers hast sanctified All place, all time! The silence of the hills Breathes veneration :-founts and choral rills Of thee are murmuring :- to its inmost glade The living forest with thy whisper thrills, And there is holiness on every shade. Yet must the thoughtful soul of man invest With dearer consecration those
pure fanes, Which, sever'd from all sound of earth's unrest, Hear nought but suppliant or adoring strains Rise heavenward. Ne'er may rock or
possess Their claim on human hearts to solemn tenderness.