Tonight, upon the river,
A black barge came, slow-drifting
Where golden lights, with ruby rays,
Were in the water shifting.
The dock was black and silent,
All on our boat were sleeping
When o'er the side, down in the tide,
I saw a mermaid peeping.
At least, a side of silver,
Shone beneath the moon,
And something splashed the water,
Bright as a silver spoon.
Perhaps 'twas but my fancy,
Perhaps 'twas but my wish,
And gliding form and silvery fin,
Were but a passing fish.
But, as the years drift onward,
This tho't I'll be a'keeping,
"I saw a mermaid swimming by,
When all the world was sleeping!"
__Louisa Cooke Don-Carlos
Dear Things And Queer Things
Louisa Cooke Don-Carlos
(Lawrence: The World Company. 1934)