This Beautiful Pool
By Henry James
This beautiful pool --- it is hardly more ---
occupies the crater of a prehistoric volcano ---
a perfect cup, moulded and smelted by furnace-fires.
The rim of the cup rises high and densely wooded around
the placid, stone-blue water, with a sort of natural artificiality.
The sweep and contour of the long circle are admirable;
never was a lake so charmingly lodged.

It is said to be of extraordinary depth;
and though stone-blue water seems at first
a very innocent substitute for boiling lava,
it has a sinister look
which betrays its dangerous antecedents.

The winds never reach it, and its surface is never ruffled;
but its deep-bosomed placidity seems to cover guilty secrets,
and you fancy it in communication with
the capricious and treacherous forces of nature.
Its very color has a kind of joyless beauty ---
a blue as cold and opaque as a solidified sheet of lava.
Streaked and wrinkled by a mysterious motion of its own,
it seems the very type of a legendary pool,
and I could easily have believed that I had
only to sit long enough into the evening to see
the ghosts of classic nymphs and naiads
cleave its sullen flood and
beckon to me with
irresistible arms.

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