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The Old Discarded Mill

by James Hampton Lee

Eloquent, though so still,
It stands by the fretting shoals,—
The old discarded mill,
Of the days that tried men's souls;
Of the days when the water's flow
First turned its wonderful wheel;
Of a hundred years ago,
When wood was King of Steel.

Of the roof and the old mill-race
The storms of the years have left
But a semblance and a trace;—
Yet the stream sweeps on, bereft!—
Why sit by the foaming shoals,
O man, while the mills decay?
Give wings to your shrinking souls!
Arise and achieve—today!

Alone in the woods it stands,
Enwrapped in a gray-mist dream
That man will return whose hands
Will harness it to the stream.—
For the mill's with the stream in love,
And the stream with the mill, as well!
The water the wheel above
Would be, there its love to tell!

Came one from the city's heart
Who loved as loves the sun;—
Saw the mill and stream apart,
And joined them again as one!—
As a man finds the sweetest words
When close to his heart she's pressed,
So the water sings now with the birds;—
It again has the wheel caressed!