A cloud, that had hung like a veil o'er the sun,
Was melted, and came to the earth on the run;
When one of its parts, in a round, sparkling drop,
That coursed down the air, on its way made a stop
To crown a fair Lily, that, lowly and pale,
Was bending to pour out her sweets o'er the vale;
Because, not another of all the bright shower
Could bathe, in descending, so lovely a flower.
The Lily was shocked by the signal of state.
She shook when it came, and was bent with its weight.
''T is brilliant and heavy,' she modestly said,
'And must not be worn by so humble a head.
For me, in my simple and plain robe of white,
To wear a gay coronet courting the sight,
It ill would befit!' so, she bowed herself down,
And on a green leaf meekly cast off her crown.
'And now,' said the Drop, 'as it clearly is seen,
The crown was not needed to make thee a queen,
Permit me awhile at thy feet to repose,
A few secret things of my life to disclose;
And then may I sink in the earth, where thy root
Will take me, and let me return in a shoot,
To hang on thy stem in a beautiful bell,
As pure as the one that I laved when I fell.'
The Lily consented. The Drop then began:—
'My birth was before the creation of man!
When darkness was yet on the face of the deep
I lay in its bosom, an infant asleep.
The Spirit moved over us through the black night;
And when my Creator said, 'Let there be light,'
Its first rays awoke me! I sparkled and played,
In praise of the power by whose word we were made.
'And since—but 't would take many lives such as thine,
To learn half the change that has since followed mine!
I've run in the stream, I have leapt in the fount;
I've slept in the lake, and have rolled up the mount
In a light curl of mist. I have strengthened the oak,
When o'er its lone head the red thunderbolt broke!
I've sailed in the cloud, and distilled in the dew.
As old as the world, I've a form ever new.
'When earth was submerged, I was under the ark,
Combined with my kindred to bear up the bark.
I've been at the poles. All the zones I have crossed.
I've fled from the fire and been caught by the frost.
I've plunged in the avalanche, heaved in the sea;
And ocean's deep things have been open to me.
The ruins unknown, and the treasures untold
That lie in her caverns, 't was mine to behold!
'Through groves of rich coral, while winding thy way
Where pearls strewed the bed, and the mariner lay,
I bathed his pale lips and his eye's heavy lid,
When all those bright things from its vision were hid,
And cold, rayless orbs seemed to tell me their sight
By Him was recalled, who said, 'Let there be light.'
From scenes deep and sad, to the skies high and clear,
I rose in a vapor to fall in a tear.
'Approaching the earth, where I paused on thy stem,
Transfixed by a sunbeam, I turned to a gem!
That delicate union of water and light,
Where so many beauties and wonders unite,
Was formed on thy head, and disporting its powers
To mark thee the fairest and sweetest of flowers.
And now, the next form that to sight I assume,
I hope will appear on thy stalk, in its bloom!'
The Drop sunk away where the root drew it in.
And ye who will go, when the lilies begin
Their buds to unfold to the warm, vernal sun,
And look in the vale, ye may there find the one
That east off her crown; and the Drop will be seen
To rise gently up o'er the leaves fresh and green,
Transformed to a bell of a pure, snowy white;
And still praising Him, who said, 'Let there be light.'