Music from the Marriage of R. and E
Currents Unconcealed

Two streams I knew together -
One rose among the heather
Where a south moorland lies
And one rose near the city,
Full-breasted one, one pretty,
Under the self-same skies.
You could see them both by climbing
A height not meant for rhyming,
So call it what you will
The spots from which they started
So slenderly were parted -
It seemed a single rill.
And when you saw their severance,
How one was grave, like Reverence,
And one was wild, like Mirth,
So likely lay their courses,
You said: The natural forces
Have mated them from birth.
You said: A kindred motion
Will link them ere the ocean,
Or marriage must be wrong;
For all the stars intended
That these two should be blended,
So also said my song.
Still they kept strangely sundered
Till everybody wondered
Why nature disobeyed;
But if they knew not, I did,
Why one a bachelor bided,
And one remained a maid.
Oh, sealed to common senses,
The subtle influences
That shape these lives of ours
Oh, plain to their quick spirit,
Who, when the grass grows, hear it,
Who hark the springing flowers.
Then meet and flow together,
Make summer in the heather,
You wedded streams at last.
I understood - the stars too -
And wished away the bars to
This joy that's flowing fast.
Oh meet, the stars will quiver
More brightly on one river
Than on two severed streams
And I shall sing the better,
When once there comes a letter
Fulfilling all my dreams.
And from the height I'll often
Gaze till the distance soften
Around your wedded ways;
Shall I name the place - I dare to -
“The eyes a Poet's heir to,”
Which has watched you many days?
Then meet, and flow, and murmur,
It makes one's faith the firmer
To see one's hope come true.
To see you twain together
Brings a blush above the heather,
Though that is blushing through.

August. 1877

Robert Barbour does not say so much but one thinks of his seeing the Tummel and Garry coming together as metaphors for marriage, but the Romanticism of the natural world is his obvious metaphorical resource. There is a sense of the Mahabharata in my reading, and I also take the last two lines as sexual.


Adrian Worsfold

Pluralist - Liberal and Thoughtful