Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SIR WILLIAM PEPPERRELL'S WELL; ISLE OF SHOALS, 1790-1892, by CELIA LEIGHTON THAXTER



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SIR WILLIAM PEPPERRELL'S WELL; ISLE OF SHOALS, 1790-1892, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Little maid margaret and I,
Last Line: Sir william pepperrell's well.
Subject(s): Houses, Deserted; Man-woman Relationships; Wells; Male-female Relations


Little maid Margaret and I,
all in the sweet May weather,
roamed merrily and peacefully
the island slopes together.

The sun was midway in the west
that golden afternoon.
The sparrow sat above his nest
and sang his friendly tune.

The sky was clear; the sea was calm.
The wind blew from the south
and touched us with a breath of balm
and kissed her happy mouth.

The joyful, smiling little maid,
her pretty hand in mine—
"Look, Thea, at the flowers," she said.
"See how the eye-brights shine."

Scattered like pearls all milky fair
where'er our feet were set,
they glimmered, swayed by gentle air,
for little Margaret.

And here the crowfoot's gold was spilled,
and there the violet
its cream-white buds with fragrance filled—
and all for Margaret.

I took a grassy path that led
into a rocky dell.
"Come, and I'll show you, dear," I said,
"Sir William Pepperrell's well."

In the deep shadow of the rock
the placid water hid,
and seemed the sky above to mock
arums and ferns, amid.

"Is this Sir William Pepperrell's well?
But Thea, who was he?"
"A nobleman, the records tell,
a lord of high degree."

"And did he live here?"
"Sometimes, yes.
Yonder his house stood, dear.
By all the scattered stones, you'd guess
a dwelling once stood here.

There lie the doorsteps large and square
where feet went out and in
long years ago. A broken stair;
and here, the walls begin."

"How long ago did they live here?"
gravely the small maid spoke.
"And tell me, did you know them, Thea—
Sir William Pepperrell's folk?"

"A hundred years they have been dead.
No dear, we never met!"
"But Thea, you're so old," she said,
"You know you might forget...

I'm only six. I'm very new;
I can't remember much."
She clasped me as she nearer drew
with light and gentle touch.

"Tell me, where are they now?" asked she.
(Oh question, ages old.)
"That, Margaret, is a mystery
no mortal has been told.

Here stood the house; there lies the well,
and nothing more we know
except that history's pages tell
they lived here long ago."

With serious eyes she gazed at me
and for a moment's space
a shadow of perplexity
flitted across her face.

Then, dancing down the sunlit way
she gathered bud and bell,
and 'mid its ferns, forgotten lay
Sir William Pepperrell's well.





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