The Well Of Saint John

He

'THERE is plenty of room for two in here,
Within the steep tunnel of old grey stone;
And the well is so dark, and the spring so clear,
It is quite unsafe to go down alone.'

She

'It is perfectly safe, depend upon it,
For a girl who can count the steps, like me;
And if ever I saw dear mother's bonnet,
It is there on the hill by the old ash-tree.'

He

'There is nobody but Rees Hopkin's cow
Watching, the dusk on the milk-white sea;
'Tis the time and the place for a life-long? vow,
Such as I owe you, and you owe me.'

She

'Oh, Willie, how can I, in this dark well?
I shall drop the brown pitcher if you let go;
The long? roof is murmuring like a sea-shell,
And the shadows are shuddering to and fro.'

He

'Tis the sound of the ebb, in Newton Bay,
Quickens the spring, as the tide grows less;
Even as true love flows alway
Counter the flood of the world's success.'

She

'There is no other way for love to flow,
Whenever it springs in a woman's breast;
With the tide of its own heart it must go,
And run contrary to all the rest.'

He

'Then fill the sweet cup of your hand, my love,
And pledge me your maiden faith thereon,
By the touch of the letter'd stone above,
And the holy water of Saint John.'

She

'Oh, what shall I say? My heart sinks low;
My fingers are cold, and my hand too flat,
Is love to be measured by handfuls so;
And you know that I love you—without that.'

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They stooped, in the gleam of the faint light, over
The print of themselves on the limpid gloom;
And she lifted her full palm toward her lover,
With her lips preparing the words of doom.

But the warm heart rose, and the cold hand fell,
And the pledge of her faith sprang sweet and clear,
From a holier source than the old Saint's well,
From the depth of a woman's love—a tear.

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