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Extract from 1907 ‘A Masque’ written by Alice Buckton called ‘The Garden of Many Waters’

The words are spoken by The Spirit of the Hour who is dressed in white and silver tunic, sandals, with small wings sprouting on his shoulders, bearing a gold wand.

Spirit (coming forward):

Far have I travelled in the heavenly space

On idle, happy wings; and set my foot

On many a planet of those lights I see

Far twinkling yonder in the morning blue!

All stars I visit at my will! But when,

This hour, I lighted here, a sweet amaze

Took hold upon my spirits. Here, it seems

A slow and wondrous change has come to be.

What world is this? Dark strife is vanishing!

I mark no more display of tooth and sword!

Desire shrinks back, like a timid beast ashamed,

Into the desert. Joyous brothers stand

Greeting each other, over sundering seas,

Exchanging common tools; and in mine ears

Brave songs go up, as from a common tongue!

(voices are heard singing)

“When songs are in the land, the heart is free!”

One voice in earth, and wind, and water calls –

One voice in everything! Even this brook

Running space to join the plain below

Makes its own melody, and hurries on.

“Seek ye my sources!” it babbles, vanishing

Through ferny grots and caverns to the sea.

Listening, I tracked its voice, and found all ways

Converging to this hill; and, on the hill,

This lovely garden, by the children called

‘Garden of many Waters’. What may be

The magic source of such sweet overflow?

Out of what solemn caves, what fragrant earth,

Come fountains such as these, blessing the thirst

Of all that stoop to them?

And even Man himself! Lo! Yonder comes

One who would seem the guardian of this place!

(Joyously) Now I shall learn all that I seek to know.

Hail, gracious Being! Queen of Husbandry!

(to be continued)

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