Frank Dempster Sherman


The Naiad's Cup

by Frank Dempster Sherman

This is a naiad's drinking cup
The water's tireless arm held up;
In it no drops of wine remain,
Its chaste lip wears no crimson stain.

No footprint by the water's edge
Betrays to whom she drank the pledge;
Only this empty cup whose lip
Speaks naught of its companionship.

Who knows but for this chalice white
A star was stolen from the night,
From whose clear jewel-grape was drawn
The dew of some Parnassian dawn;

And as the precious wine distilled,
One drop into the water spilled,
Pervading all the purple deep
Wherein this naiad lay asleep!

Such potency that flavor knew,
Her dream told where this lily grew;
One taste, and she awoke, and then
Her eyes saw Arcady again!

The East was reddening; the West
Was shepherding the stars to rest;
But ere Apollo's reign began
She pledged this loving cup with Pan!


Lyrics For A Lute
Copyright 1890
Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin, and Company