Patrick Regan has kindly shared the material from his Robert Buchanan site with readers of the Victorian Web, who may wish to consult the original.

O my fountain of a maiden,
Sweet to hear and bright to see,
Now before mine eyes love-laden
Dancing, thrilling, flashing free, —
Still thy sparkling bliss a moment, sit thee
    down, and look at me.

Gaze into my face, my dearest!
Through thy gleaming, golden hair;
Meet mine eyes — ah! thine are clearest
When my image floateth there;
Now, they still themselves, like waters when
    the windless skies are fair.

              In those depths of limpid azure
See my baby likeness beam!
Deep blue with reflected pleasure
From some heavenly dome of dream,
Crystal currents of thy spirit swim around
    it, glance, and gleam!

Hold my hand, and heark'ning to me
For a space, be calm and cold.
While that liquid look flows through me
And I love thee twenty-fold,
I am smiling at a story thy dead mother
    often told.

When thou wast a little blossom
Blown about thy village home,
Thou didst on that mother's bosom
Put a question troublesome:
'Mother, please, where did you find me?
    whence do little children come?'

And the dame with bright beguiling
İİİKiss'd her answer first, my dear!
But, still prest, she answer'd smiling —
'In the orchard Well so clear,
Thou wert seen one sunny morning, sleeping,
    and we brought thee here.'

With a look as grave as this is
Thou didst ponder thoughts profound;
On the next day with fond kisses
Clinging mother's neck around —
'Mother! mother! I've been looking in the
    Well where I was found!

'Bright and clear it is! but — mother!'
(Here thine eyes look'd wonderingly)
'In the well there is another —
Just the very same as me! —
And it is awake and moving — and its pretty
    eyes can see!

'When I stretch my arms unto it,
Out its little arms stretch too!
Apple-blossoms red I threw it,
And it broke away from view —
Then again it look'd up laughing through
    the waters deep and blue!'

Then thy gentle mother kiss'd thee,
Clari, as I kiss thee now,
With a wondering fondness bless'd thee,
Smooth'd the bright hair from thy brow —
Saying, ''Tis a little Sister, happy-eyed and
    sweet as thou!

'Underneath the deep pure water
Dwell its parents in green bowers —
Yes, it is their little daughter,
Just the same as thou art ours;
And it loves to lie there, looking at the
    pleasant orchard flowers.

'Every day, while thou art growing,
Thou wilt find thy Sister fair —
Even when the skies are snowing
And the water freezes there,
Break the blue ice, — through the water with
    a cold cheek she will stare!

'As thou changest, growing taller,
She will change, through all the years —
Well thou may'st thy Sister call her,
She will share thy hopes and fears,
She will wear the face thou wearest, sweet
    in smiles and sad in tears.

'Ah, my darling! may'st thou ever
;See her look as kind and bright,
Find her woeful-featured never
In the pleasant orchard light —
May you both be glad and happy, when
    your golden locks are white!'

Golden locks! — what, these grow hoary?
Wrinkles mar a face like this?
Break the charm of the old story
With the magic of a kiss —
Here thou art, my deep-eyed darling, as
    thou wast, — a thing of bliss.

Does she love thee? does she miss thee?
Thy sweet Sister in the well?
Does she mourn because I kiss thee —
Fearing what she cannot tell? —
For you both are link'd together by a truth
    and by a spell.

Darling, be my love and duty
Judged by her! and prove me so;
When upon her mystic beauty
Thou perceivest shame or woe;
When she changes into sadness, may God
    judge,and strike me low!

Thou and thy sweet Sister move in
A diviner element,
Clear as light, more sweet to love in
Than my world so turbulent;
Holy waters bathe and bless you, peaceful,
    bright, and innocent.

And within those eyes of azure
See! my baby image beam,
Deep blue with reflected pleasure
From some heavenly dome of dream,
Crystal currents of thy spirit swim around
    it, glance, and gleam.

O my fountain of a maiden,
Be thy days for ever blest,
Dancing in mine eyes love-laden,
Lying smiling on my breast, —
Brighter than a fount, in motion, deeper
    than a well, at rest.

(From Miscellaneous Poems, 1866-70)


Victorian Web Robert Buchanan Contents

Last modified 26 September 2002