Old Spookses’ Pass, Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems

by Isabella Valancy Crawford




A peaceful spot, a little street,
    So still between the double roar
Of sea and city that it seemed
    A rest in music, set before [Page 124]
Some clashing chords—vibrating ye
    With hurried measures fast and sweet;
For so the harsh chords of the town,
    And so the ocean’s rythmic beat.

A little street with linden trees
    So thickly set, the belfry’s face
Was leaf-veiled, while above them pierced
    Four slender spires flamboyant grace,
Old porches carven when the trees,
    Were seedlings yellow in the sun
Five hundred years ago that bright
    Upon the quaint old city shone.

A fountain prim, and richly cut
    In ruddy granite, carved to tell
How a good burgomeister rear’d
    The stone above the people’s well.
A sea-horse from his nostrils blew
    Two silver threads; a dragon’s lip
Dropp’d di’monds, and a giant hand
    Held high an urn on finger tip.

’Twas there I met my little maid,
    There saw her flaxen tresses first;
She filled the cup for one who lean’d
    (A soldier, crippl’d and athirst)
Against the basin’s carven rim;
    Her dear small hand’s white loveliness
Was pinkly flush’d, the gay bright drops
    Plash’d on her brow and silken dress. [Page 125]

I took the flagon from her hand,
    Too small, dear hand, for such a weight.
From cobweb weft and woof is spun
    The tapestry of Life and Fate!
The linden trees had gilded buds,
    The dove wheeled high on joyous wing,
When on that darling hand of hers
    I slipped the glimmer of a ring.
Ah, golden heart and golden locks
    Ye wove so sweet, so sure a spell!
That quiet day I saw her first
    Beside the Burgomeister’s Well! [Page 126]