Just under an island, ’ midst rushes and moss,1
I was born of a rock-spring, and dew ;2
I was shaded by trees, whose branches and leaves3
Ne’er suffered the sun to gaze through.4
I wandered around the steep brow of a hill,5
Where the daisies and violets fair6
Were shaking the mist from their wakening eyes,7
And pouring their breath on the air.8
Then I crept gently on, and I moistened the feet9
Of a shrub which enfolded a nest10
The bird in return sang his merriest song,11
And showed me his feathery crest.12
How joyous I felt in the bright afternoon,13
When the sun, riding off in the west,14
Came out in red gold from behind the green trees15
And burnished my tremulous breast !16
My memory now can return to the time17
When the breeze murmured low plaintive tones,18
While I wasted the day in dancing away,19
Or playing with pebbles and stones.20
“It points to the hour when the rain pattered down,21
Oft resting awhile in the trees ;22
Then quickly descending it ruffled my calm,23
And whispered to me of the seas !24
Twas then the first wish found a home in my breast25
To increase as time hurries along ;26
’Twas then I first learned to lisp softly the words27
Which I now love so proudly— Press on ! ’28
I’ll make wider my bed, as onward I tread,29
A deep mighty river I’ll be30
Press on’ all the day will I sing on my way,31
Till I enter the far-spreading sea.”32
It ceased. A youth lingered beside its green edge33
Till the stars in its face brightly shone ;34
He hoped the sweet strain would re-echo again—35
But he just heard a murmur,— Press on !36