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WITH dreadful roars and howls of vain despair
The rapid rushes down the mountain side.
It twines its writhing, ghost-like arms of foam
Around grim rocks and tall, unbending trees.
It strives to stay its headlong plunge; it begs
To stay, but for a moment, ere 't is whirled
Down, down, away forever. Rocks and trees
Shrink from its grasp, deaf to its pleading cry,
And let it whirl on headlong to its fate.
A man stands musing by, with pitying smile:
"Poor waters, brief and troubled is your life;
A moment here, - then gone, forever gone."
The rapid rushes on, but now its shout
Is changed to horrid mockery and glee.
It raises up its ghost-like arms of foam,
Exultant, waves its countless claws of spray,
And screams in triumph, "Smile on, little man;
Smile while you may. Erelong, your dimming eye
Will watch the sun sink down to rise no more
For you. The busy rounds of life no more
Will reach your deafened ear. Insensible
As these grim rocks you'll lie. While they still stand
Unchanged, your very dust shall not away.
But I shall stay. My waters change, but I
Am ever here. Long ages hence, when men
With all men's works shall long have been forgot,
The sun will rise and set upon me still;
I shall roll on, my everlasting shout
Shall still re-echo from the mighty hills."
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