The White-Rose Wreath
Harriet Emma Burton
HER MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY
AND, BY HER ROYAL PERMISSION,
WITH DUTIFUL RESPECT INSCRIBED,
BY HER MAJESTY'S
AND MOST HUMBLE SERVANT,
Impressed with a deep and grateful sense of the honour conferred
on me, I avail myself of your Majesty's most gracious permission,
in the hope of obtaining that indulgence which can alone render
these early Poems acceptable in your Majesty's sight.
The sanction of so revered a name has encouraged me to make some
addition to my first collection of fugitive poetry, already
published under less favourable auspices.
Had it been possible for me to contemplate the high distinction
your Majesty is pleased to accord to this little volume, the most
scrupulous attention should have been directed towards rendering it
less unworthy the royal condescension.
If, however, the Poem on which depends my future destiny afford
one momentary consolation to my most gracious Sovereign—if I have
endeavoured to portray the affectionate attentions bestowed on an
amiable Princess, without wounding the tender sensibility of her
illus- trious Relative, I may venture to lay at your Majesty's'
WhiteRose Wreath. I have the honour to remain,
With the utmost respect,
Most grateful, obedient, and humble Servant,
HARRIET EMMA BURTON.
Sept . 16th, 1835.
TO THE MEMORY OF
PRINCESS LOUISE OF SAXE WEIMAR,
WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE IN WINDSOR CASTLE, AND WAS IN-
TERRED IN ROYAL CHAPEL, JULY 16TH, 1832.
THE voice of death is on the breeze,
It is the deep-toned bell,
In measured tone so mournfully
Proclaims the last farewell !
And weeping friends, and kindred hearts,
Are shuddering at the call,
Which bids them o'er the cherished one
Suspend the shadowy pall.
Now forth they come, in dark array;
Far sweep the veils of snow,
As moves the fair and mournful train,
Majestic, mute, and slow.
There knights, and lords, and princes, clad
In one sad garb we see;
And crown'd heads sanctify a scene
Grand in simplicity !
Bright shines the noontide heaven above
The cold funereal bed,
Gleams o'er the gilded coronet
And banner of the dead.
Emblem of youth and innocence,
Pale as the brow beneath;
Breathing of vestal purity,
There lies—the White-Rose Wreath !
And who with tender hands hath placed
That garland on the bier,
Bathing each spotless flower and leaf
With fond affection's tear ?
Long shall they live, embalm'd with drops
So precious and so true,
Sweet flowers ! go tell the sepulchre,
A Queen has wept o'er you !
And she hath watch'd, and knelt, and pray'd,
Beside the couch of pain,
And view'd, in that meek sufferer's look,
Her child expire again.
"Oh ! not for me !" she sigh'd, "on earth
One tender flower may bloom:
My own sweet babe, and thou, most loved,
Must Share the darksome tomb.
"Say, can no healing art restore
The pulse of health and life;
Or still, within this feeble frame,
The long, unequal strife ?
Must I behold these gentle eyes,
Veiled in the shades of death,
And in this last fond kiss, dear love !
Receive thy parting breath ?"
In vain the world's cold chains would bind
Affection's hallow'd power;
She, whose enduring watchfulness
Outlives the midnight hour,
Still guards with tears those sad remains,
Enshrin'd in virgin white;
Nor leaves them when the gloomy pall
Has wrapt them from her sight.
For now, before the silent vault,
She droops, o'erpower'd by woe,
Faint with oppressive tenderness,
Ere sinks the loved below.
And thus, perhaps, her spirit sigh'd,
While anguish bowed her frame,
And o'er her fond maternal breast
The tide of memory came.
"I feel within my bursting heart
Each bitter pang renew'd,
Which time, and christian faith and trust,
Not yet have all subdued.
Alas ! I could not think, when first
I view'd thine early charms,
So young, so fair, so innocent,
Would perish in these arms !
"I felt for thee, my gentle one,
A mother's softest care,
And pray'd thou might'st be spared to me—
In vain I breath'd my prayer.
O God ! a dreary lot is mine,
I've seen my infants die,
And this most dear adopted child,
Wan, cold, expiring, lie !
"Father ! forgive—I will not weep
For her, the loved, the free !
Teach me to bow, like her resign'd,
And drink this cup from Thee.
And thou, Louise, if mortal sighs
Can reach the realms above,
Receive them as my latest pledge
Of deep, unfading love !"
List, Royal Mourner ! from the tomb
Rise murmers soft and sweet:—
"Though parted by supreme decree,
Our spirits thus may meet !
Oh ! could I tell thee half the bliss
Which fills my ravish'd soul,
How would'st thou pant to burst the bonds
That now thy heart control.
"Dearest, most faithful friend on earth !
Lament no more for me;
Corruption incorruption wears,
Blest angels twine a diadem
To crown Louise; but O, for thee
Let her the wreath prepare !
"Let me the joyful harp resign
To soothe thy tender tears,
And guide thee with celestial love,
Along the vale of years.
Oh ! may I be the spirit sent
To breathe within thy breast
The gracious mandate of our Lord,
'Come to this place of rest !'"
Hush'd is the deep funereal toll;
FOR THE 13TH OF AUGUST. SUPPOSED TO BE SUNG BY THE CHILDREN
RECEIVED AT HER
The anthem peals no more;
The veils of snow have past away,
The mournful scene is o'er.—
O ye, who idly gaze around—
Beneath one common sod,
Thus shall ye sleep in death ! My soul,
"Prepare to meet thy God !"
Scene —THE HOME PARK.
WHAT fairy pageant glides along,
With breeze of fragrance, breath of song,
The cool and daisied green ?
And hark ! from all the beauteous train
Is heard one soft, harmonious strain,
"God save our gentle Queen !"
What sylph-like forms are blending there !
Lips, cheeks of roses, silken hair
O'er brows of polish'd snow,
Floating in ringlets rich and bright;
And eyes that mock the moonbeam's light,
So pure their radiant glow !
Fairer than fay or sylph ye smile,
Sweet children of Britannia's isle,
As hand in hand ye rove;
Angelic guests ye seem to be,
Sent down to breathe of purity,
Of Paradise and love !
"With joyous step we've chased the dew,
Her path with fairest flowers to strew,
And twine the garland sweet;
We bear from yon delightful glade,
Our Queen's illustrious brow to shade,
Or wither at her feet !
The tributary verse we sing,
Unnumbered hearts are offering:
Heav'n grant thee days serene !
May years our faith more closely bind
To one so good, so great, so kind,
God save Britannia's Queen !
The rose her blushing leaves hath shed,
And jasmin stars we round thee spread,
Types of our sinless youth:—
These fade, alas ! but not like them
Shall droop the floral diadem
We consecrate to Truth.
Around thy feet, dear Queen, we kneel:
Can words the grateful thoughts reveal,
Which glow in every breast ?
One tender flower alone can prove
The deep respect and duteous love,
Of those thy smiles have blest.
"Our infant hands have culled with care,
TO THE MEMORY OF GEORGE THE FOURTH.
The Everlasting buds we bear,
Twined with the myrtle green;
Oh ! may a brighter crown be thine,
And love immortal round thee shine:—
God save our gentle Queen !"
I SAW a castle of beauty and power,
Bathed in the light of the sunset hour:
Proudly over the battlements fair,
A standard stream'd far on the soft blue air.
The bright, the noble have graced those halls;
The brave with laurel crowns wreath'd the walls,
They were met once more, by that mingled sound
Of music and revelry floating around !
I heard thro' each portal one chorus ring,
Re-echoed by thousands, "God save the King !"
A change was dark'ning o'er the sky,
When next that castle met mine eye;
The rosy tints of gold were flown,
Eve's dusky shade remained alone.
The song was hush'd—in whispers low,
Men ask'd of what they feared to know.
Tired messengers, despatch'd with speed,
Pass'd and repass'd on foaming steed;
While anxious eyes, and lips compress'd,
Tho' mute, th' impending doom confess'd.
This prayer true hearts were murmuring,
"Lord ! we beseech thee, save our King !"
I saw those ancient towers again,
They were 'wrapt, as it were, with a
And the flag that yields not on earth or main,
Beneath the light wind bow'd.
A conqueror rent the palace gate,
And strode in gloomy pride,
Till he reach'd the throne in the hall of state—
Then he cast his arms aside.
A mournful stillness reign'd profound,
The breath of life had fled,
When a train of followers gathered around
The couch of the princely dead.
But time so lightly had waved his wing,
They feared to awaken the dreamless King.
No trace of mortal pain appear'd,
And a ray was seen to shine
O'er the cold mute lips, add the brow revered—
A type of bliss divine.
Soft fell the dewy veil of night,
When, glancing swift a signal light
Gleams from the ivy'd tower;
With arms revers'd, a martial band,
Along the courts compacted stand,
Guarding the sacred hour.
Now faintly sweet the funeral dirge we hear,
Distinct yet distant, stealing on the ear;
Continuous and sad the requiem floats,
Responding chords adopt the plaintive notes,
Leaving no pause
The trumpet's blast, the roll of muffled drum,
Proclaim the last solemnities are come.
Knights, heralds, warriors, peers, advancing slow,
Robed in the pomp and pageantry of woe,
In marshall'd ranks
Now borne beneath the torches' fitful light,
Britain's imperial banners flutter bright,
In proud and rich
The glitt'ring crown, the sceptre and the sword,
Shine round the gilded coffin of their lord,
And hark ! the cannon's deadly roar
Bursts o'er the dirge, and clarion's wail—
breathes no more !
Is there no mourner in the sable trains
Who crowd to view their king's enshrin'd remains,
No gentle praise—no tributary sigh ?
Yet thousands watch the regal canopy
Pass to the holy
Can they who shar'd his lasting love, behold
The drooping pall, and velvet's waiving fold,
Nor feel one thrilling pang unnerve the breast ?
Is every touch of virtuous grief represt,
Ere sinks the mild and generous Prince to rest
Beside his honour'd
No ! there are hearts in yon bright retinue,
Whom cold indifference dares not yet subdue;
These will not
blush to shed
The loyal tear of gratitude, nor fear
Respectful sighs may wound the monarch's ear,
Who mourns a
Statesmen may feel, and courtiers own
Regret for him who graced our throne,
princes weep !
In signs of faith like this were seen,
To William and his gentle Queen,
Allegiance pure and
And who, with iron heart, can smile,
When sweeps along the sacred aisle,
The organ's pealing
And wafted thence to cloister dim,
Is faintly heard the choral hymn,
Contendent notes in union meet;
The minute gun, the anthem sweet,
The bell's sepulchral toll—
O let not nobler man disdain
To breathe with them the hallow'd strain,
"Peace to King George's soul !"
TO H. R. H. PRINCE GEORGE OF CAMBRIDGE. ON HIS BIRTHDAY, MARCH
26th , 1831.
SWEET Flora ! bright with every gem,
Descend in vernal showers,
And twine with me a diadem
Of soft unsullied flowers ,
Pour forth the early blossoming,
Like snow-wreathes on the bough—
Emblems of youth's delicious spring,
Come, shade a spotless brow !
One heedless breeze those clusters fair,
May waft along the plain:
But mark, beneath the sultry air,
What blushing fruits remain !
(So cull the fragrance of the heart,
That storms in vain may blow,
Or bid the treasured fruits depart,
Which there immortal grow !)
Soft hyacinth and primrose pale,
Your varied hues combine,
And silver lilies of the vale,
Mid purple violets shine !
Narcissus pure and faintly sweet,
Anemone so gay;
I call ye from your green retreat,
To grace the natal day !
And O, for one of royal birth,
So innocent and fair:
Faith, hope, and love, sweet flowers of earth,
Your peaceful joys prepare !
And softly o'er his youthful head
Celestial splendours glow !
Blest spirits, be your wings outspread,
To guard from sin or woe !
O ! breathe within his artless breast,
The charms of love divine;
And point to shores of blissful rest,
Where flowers eternal shine.
Now, Flora, bear this offering,
Nor let Prince George disdain
The balmy treasures of the spring
Or bard's untutor'd strain !
A h, let not sovereign eyes, if here they rest,
D isdain the tribute of one faithful breast !
E mpress of ocean, guardian of this land,
L ong may her life our bright example stand !
A ugust in virtuous deeds: warm charity,
I n her conspicuous, yet half veil'd, we see.
D eign, gracious heaven, our honour'd Queen to save,
E ach heart responds, from Thames' to Ganges' wave.
THE Bride ! the white-robed bride
! with soft delight
Radiant she comes to grace the nuptial rite.
Blessings attend her steps, fond looks from all,
And words of whisper'd love, around her fall.
Her royal sire approves the sacred band,
And Falkland's lord receives Amelia's hand.
Fair bride ! the wreath which decks thy virgin
May fade, perchance, before the sun be
And every leaf that breathes of fragrance now
Be drooping from thy bridal
If youth and beauty must like these decay,
Time dares not bid one mental charm
Or rend from Love's bright wreath one flower away,
While virtue's influence guards each wedded
Long may endure the hallow'd vows of youth,
Each tender hope its soft fulfilment
To love's first glow, succeed connubial truth,
And years far off, as these fond hours, be
Lady, forgive, if once the poet's lays
Approach a gentle ear, unmix'd with praise:
Nor deem the moral of the muse severe,
Who tells thee joy is not immortal here;
So live, that when the marriage-feast on high
Shall call thee hence, thou wilt not fear to die !
FOR thee, lov'd Prince, I wake my trembling lyre,
But ah ! in sighs the tones of joy retire;
How shall the muse these plaintive chords oppose
While thus her soul's deep tenderest pity flows ?
I mourn for thee, whose bright and laughing eyes
Once mock'd the azure of yon cloudless skies:
Whose joyous smile, and bold yet graceful mien,
In court, in camp, in merry chase, were seen;
Youth's early bloom soft mantling o'er thy cheek,
And lips that seem'd of generous love to speak.
Must those sweet eyes, seal'd in perpetual night,
No more at morn, unclose to joy and light ?
Nor view, while folded in their soft embrace,
The beaming fondness of a parent's face ?
In vain for thee the circling hours disclose
Spring's early violet; summer's orient rose;
Autumn's rich foliage; fields of waving gold;
Winter's white canopy, all pure and cold,
Cast on herb, tree, and flower. Earth, ocean, skies
Must they be hid for ever from thine eyes !
What though fair nature seems in vain to smile,
Still may her charms some weary hours beguile:
The cool soft breeze refresh thy languid brow,
Sweet fragrance wafting from the jasmin bough;
The lark's blithe carol; Philomel more dear,
Or voice of love, may soothe thy listening ear;—
These are thy pastimes, heir of Britain's throne,
For such thou wert, nor is the vision flown.
Alas ! the promise of thine infant years
Is dimm'd, lov'd Prince, but yet not quench'd in tears.
O that for thee that voice benign were heard,
Which still'd the tempest, earth's dark cavern stirr'd !
"He from thick films can purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eyeball pour the day !"
To Him we turn, when human science fails,
Though first, not last, the prayer of faith prevails.
If still, dear Prince, this world must dark remain,
Celestial aid will not be sought in vain !
And poured, perhaps, in place of mortal sight,
A nobler portion of internal light.
Chasten'd awhile beneath a Father's rod,
Because thou'rt lov'd;—that Father is thy God !
He guards thee, sees thee, hears thy secret sigh:
Safe shalt thou rest beneath Jehovah's eye !
LINES WRITTEN ON THE DEATH OF MISS F. L. B. AND
September 11th, 1833.
ADDRESSED TO HER MOTHER.
"How is she numbered among the
children of God, and her
lot is among the saints." —Wisdom v. 5.
MEEK, patient, gentle, unrepining maid,
In the dark tomb thy dear remains are laid !
No mother's watchful love shall guard thee now,
Or breathe warm kisses on thy pale cold brow !
These unavailing cares she needs no more—
Her sun is set—her pilgrimage is o'er !
And we, who saw those languid hours descend,
Pray'd that like hers might be our own "last end."
O shall we mourn a death so blest as thine,
So strong in faith—so crown'd by love divine ?
No plaint, no murmur could we hear, nor trace
One fear of death on that calm saint-like face.
Each pang subdued, each soft regret concealed,
Her placid smile the "peace of God" revealed !
Wistful she gaz'd on those so justly dear,
As if frail nature yet would linger here.
The transitory hope allur'd in vain.
Religion whisper'd still, "to die is gain !"
Christ was her strength—She view'd with stedfast eye,
"The resurrection and the life am I;
He that on me believeth, though he die,
Yet shall he live !" Her glorious hope was this,
Pledge and foretaste of heaven's transcendent bliss !
Yet weep, fond mother ! for she was to thee
All that a daughter, christian, friend, could be.
It seem'd through life your destiny to prove,
One sacred interchange of trust and love.
The dearest ties humanity can know,
Her chasten'd heart consented to forego:
She was thy comfort, and perhaps thy pride,
Whilst others moved progressive from thy side.
A sweet companion, duteous, grateful, kind,
Blameless in mortal sight, and pure in mind.
Link'd to her sisters and their youthful race,
By changeless love and each domestic grace.
For silent bounties by the poor revered,
By nameless virtues to her friends endear'd;
In her fair face, portray'd to visual sense,
Shone forth a conscience "void of all offence."
For thee, lone mother ! pity weeps in vain,
And words of comfort tell thee but of pain.
For dear was she, as on thy tender breast
The happy infant smiled itself to rest:
But dearer far to thine unwearied eye,
The gentle Fanny, in her last low sigh !
Tears are not sin—for mark, when Lazarus slept,
Touch'd by surrounding sadness, "Jesus wept !"
"Groaning in spirit," with our griefs opprest,
He spake—and rocks the present God confess'd !
O what amazing power was in that breath,
Which call'd him living from the bands of death !
"Come forth !"—the stillness of the tomb was stirr'd,
Earth leap'd to life at Christ's almighty word !
A faithful God, compassionate and just,
Whose very glance reanimates the dust,
To him our dear departed friend we trust.
'Tis He alone upholds the fainting heart,
When nature's tenderest chords are rent apart:
Of other homes "not made with hands," He tells,
Where joy eternal, universal, dwells.
There shall all tears be wiped from every face,
And Christ the Lord for man "prepare a place."
The "just made perfect," martyrs, saints untold,
Seraphic hosts innumerous cry, "Behold
The new Jerusalem!" There lives thy child,
Redeemed from death, a spirit undefiled !
M Y dearest friend, one tender lay,
A ccept on this thy natal day !
R enew'd my vows on truth's pure shrine,
G ently I pledge my fate to thine:
A nd pray, with each revolving year,
R eturning joys thy path may cheer;
E 'en sorrow's self, (though keen her dart,)
T ransplant from earth to heaven thy heart !
Aug . 15th, 1833.
C heerful smiles and blooming roses
A nimate her features fair:
T ruth upon her brow reposes,
H ealth and pleasure mingle there.
A cts of kindness, words of feeling,
R ise spontaneous from her breast;
I n this verse my love revealing,
(N ow no more her name concealing,)
E ver may my friend be blest !
September 13th, 1833.
VEIL'D in monastic shades profound,
In vain my spirit sighs:
And hush'd in forced forgetfulness,
Each thought and feeling lies.
No more for me the glorious light
Unfolds the joys of morn,
Or evening's mute magnificence,
Can soothe my heart forlorn !
Rent from the tender ties of earth,
In vain my vows were given,
Dearer one face of kindred birth,
Than all the brides of heaven !
To meet the warm hand's gentle grasp,
The look of love and bliss,
Of circling friends—be still my heart,
Thou hast no part in this !
To wander o'er the dewy fields,
Where glide soft streams along;
To seek the greenwood's peaceful shade,
And list the wild bird's song.
What joy to dwell with those we love,
In scenes so pure, so fair—
Be still my lonely heart, be still,
In these thou hast no share !
To mix among the bright and gay,
In pleasure's sparkling halls,
Where, blent with dance and revelry,
The breath of music falls,
And rosy wreathes are lightly twined
Around the joyous brow:
Mirth, feast, and song—in these, my heart,
Thou hast no portion now.
To meet the eye's full tenderness,
Ere trembling lips can tell
The sweet and thrilling passions
In the lover's breast that dwell;
To pledge and on the sacred shrine
Eternalize our bliss,
Weak, foolish, fluttering heart, be still,
Thou hast no part in this.
To see upon my bosom, where
The crucifix now lies,
The balmy-breathing innocent
Awake with happy sighs:
To press on its soft cheek the love
That warms a mother's heart:—
Mary ! forgive the cloister'd maid,
In this thou once hadst part !
To trace the deep sequester'd vale
With solemn yew-trees crown'd;
To muse upon the nameless forms
Beneath each verdant mound;
The loved, the fair, the desolate,
Repose all calmly there;
Break, break at once, my withered heart,
In this thou hast thy share
To hear the rush of harp and song
From heaven's immortal choir;
To feel these lips of mouldering clay
Touched by etherial fire;
To drink from streams of living light
Supreme, unchanging bliss,
Rise, my 'rapt soul—from earth set free,
May'st thou have part in this.
Answer to some lines bearing the same title, written in a
WHOE'ER thou art, whose hand durst trace
Not woman's, but the bard's disgrace;
Know that for thee no tender sighs,
Or love-breathed eloquence shall rise.
False is thy creed, whoe'er thou art—
Thou hast not looked in woman's heart !
Love, indestructible as pure,
Till memory leaves her, will endure:
And each attempt to quench the flame,
But strengthens it within her frame:
With one calm, gradual, sacred light,
It burns etherial, firm and bright.
But passion, miscall'd love, emits
A ray that bursts and dies by fits;
And rushing, as the lightning springs,
Vivid from dark destruction's wings;
Shall leave, where all before was fair,
Shame, desolation, and despair !
This is not woman's love ! her heart,
"PENSEZ à moi !" —sweet flower, on thee
Though youth, peace, hope, e'en life depart,
Preserves unchang'd, through weal or woe,
Love's inextinguishable glow !
Go, sceptic, search historian lore,
The minstrel chord, the poet's ore,
And say not, woman loves no more !
These mystic words fair Flora pressed;
And joyous Zephyr smiled to see
The tender flame at once confessed.
"Pensez à moi !" she softly sighs—
Sylphs waft the fragrance through the
On tyrian leaves her language lies,
And Love engraves the motto there.
"Pensez à moi !" how sweetly dwells
The sound on bashful maidens ear;
Of hope, of faith, of joy it tells,
And softly checks the parting tear.
"Pensez à moi !" aye, seas may roll,
And adverse fates forbid to love !
Can these unbind the constant soul,
Or youth's fidelity remove ?
"Pensez à moi !" the tender prayer
Is uttered with our latest breath:
And murmurs from the pansey fair,
That gems the sacred shades of
Pensez à moi !" My gentle friends !
Dear remnants of a broken chain—
To each this flower, Fidelia sends;
Oh keep it, till we meet again !
An Ode. SUGGESTED BY VIEWING GUIDO'S EXQUISITE
PAINTING IN DULWICH GALLERY.
DIVINE Sebastian now before me stands !
I see his naked breast—his pinioned hands;
Unutterable faith is in those eyes,
Which full of suffering love, to heaven arise:
I read the struggle of mortality,
But faith has vanquished mortal agony !
From his fair side the Roman's impious dart
Hath dearly drunk the life-stream of his heart !
Yet on his meek and placid lips the while,
The youthful martyr wears a heavenly smile:
And in his upward looks of pain I read,
"Adored Redeemer ! 'tis for thee I bleed
Around him fall the friendly shades of night,
As if to veil his agonies from sight;
Death dares not yet subdue the angelic mind:
Betrayed, disarmed, unshrinking, and resigned,
Sebastian stands, beneath the fatal tree—
The man is fettered, but the saint is free !
But deeper still must fall that friendly shade,
Ere yet may come the fond and Christian maid
With the pale wreath her tender hands have twined
Around the martyr's sacred brow to bind.
The clouds are gathering fast—one star is bright !
Irene, haste !—Sebastian dies !—'tis night.
Low on the turf his martial garb is flung:
His brazen casque, amid the dark boughs hung,
Glimmers athwart the gloom. Around him stand—
His comrades once—the Diocletian band !
With sullen joy they view the saint expire,
Relax the bow, then with wild shouts retire.
Irene glides with noiseless foot along,
Scarce seen or noticed by the murderous throng:
Oh ! how the inhuman shout appals her ears,
Arrests her pulse, and petrifies her tears !
'Tis but a moment—Woman's faith can brave
Sword, fire, or midnight, when she hopes to save.
Now with unbraided locks, and melting eyes
To Heaven upraised—precipitate she flies.
Rome's Christian daughters slowly following bring
The cold sweet chaplets of unfolding spring;
But young Irene's hand alone shall spread
The snow-white vest, and garland of the dead.
"Was it for this !" she thought, "my myrtle bowers:
I fondly reared, and culled my favourite flowers !
Was it for this, with pious care I wove
This silken garment, that will shroud my love !
Vain are my tears ! yet fast they fall, and fill
The golden chalice of each pale jonquil !
"Vain are my sighs ! my deep regrets in vain;
Nor would Irene bid thee live again !
Sebastian ! on thy mild persuasive tongue
What ardent faith, and strong devotion hung !
Oh ! but for thee, my darkened soul would deem
The sleep of death one cold eternal dream.
"Rebellious nature ! learn to kiss the rod—
Be still my heart—Sebastian is—with God !
Wouldst thou recall from Heaven's immortal light,
The saint, the martyr, clad in holiest white ?
Shall he the palm, the crown, the harp divine,
And everlasting song, for thee resign ?
"Witness, eternal stars ! angelic thrones !
Who viewed my love, and heard his dying groans;
Witness ye clouds ! whose sable canopy
Floating in ether, veiled his fading eye—
Deep as I loved, no murmur swells my heart—
Blest be the Power supreme who bids us part !"
Now chanting funeral lays, the mournful train
Scatter their wreathes, assembling round the slain.
While some, fair linens dip in Tyber's wave,
From crimson dews Sebastian's limbs to lave;
With trembling fingers some the cords unbind
That chafe his breast and link his hands behind;
Starting, as heaves one curl, the fitful wind.
What means that scream of extacy ? a cry
Of wildest gratitude ascends the sky:
Hushed is the funeral chant, the burst of woe,
The secret sob, and tears no longer flow.
Irene bending o'er the brow she wreathes,
Meets the faint sigh, and cries—"Sebastian breathes !"
Here fancy pause—nor further urge thy flight
O'er scenes which Guido's pencil gives not light;
What, though Irene's soft assiduous hands
Extract each shaft, and burst Sebastian's bands;
Her tender, long unwearied cares are vain:
He lives—for Christian truth, to bleed again !
I marvel not where superstition reigns,
That works like these should rivet Error's chains;
When beauty, youth, and fortitude divine,
And sacred martyrdom with art combine—
While gentle maids Sebastian's fate deplore,
Enthusiasts, wrapt in frenzied dreams, adore.
Immortal Guido ! thy celestial art
Speaks not alone to sense, but charms the heart.
Who on the dying saint can gaze, nor feel
A holy rapture through his bosom steal ?
Who can behold the mute, appealing eye,
Nor almost shed the tear of sympathy ?
Oh ! that my feeble pen could half pourtray
The varying thoughts awaked in me this day.
O'erpowered I sink beneath superior light;
The glow-worm glittereth not, till all is night,
And leave to those whom genius calls his own,
The wreath I twine, to offer at his throne.
Note .—Sebastian, who was by birth an Italian, served in
the Roman Army under the Emperor Diocletian. He was
generally beloved for his amiable qualities, and particularly
distinguished by Diocletian, who promoted him to the rank of
captain of the first company of his Guards. The Emperor
being in time informed that Sebastian was a Christian, commanded
him to disprove the accusation by sacrificing to the
gods. Sebastian boldly avowing his faith, Diocletian
ordered him to be bound to a stake, and shot by
arrows. This order was immediately executed, and
Sebastian was left for dead by the archers. But a
Christian, named Irene, coming to render him funeral honours, found
him still breathing, and conveyed him to her house, where she
carefully attended him till he recovered from his wounds.
Soon after his miraculous restoration to life, he presented
himself before Diocletian, and reproached him with the cruelty he
exercised towards the Christians. The Emperor being as
much irritated with these merited reproaches as he was astonished
on beholding one whom he thought dead, gave orders for Sebastian's
instant execution, and the dauntless martyr was slain on the spot
by the Emperor's club-men. A Christian woman obtained
his body, and gave it decent burial, and a church has since been
founded upon his grave. Sebastian suffered in the
commencement of the year 288.
LINES INSCRIBED IN A RUINED HERMITAGE.
THE spirits of feeling, of passion, and sadness,
Have woven the thread of my summerless days;
Now raised me to Heaven, now driv'n to madness,
Thus shading my life with their various rays.
The years of my childhood passed drearily on,
By sorrow unmarked, and ungilded by joy;
Yet when the dull morn of my spring-tide was gone,
I almost regretted the sports of a boy.
The banquet of youth's glowing summer I fly,
The noon of enjoyment, of beauty and love:
Pleasure beams from each face, while I think with a sigh,
Such bliss, such enchantment, I never may prove !
And yet in my bosom I feel I was made
For sensations like these, though by Fortune denied:
Pass on, laughing maidens ! I mourn in the shade;
And may ye be happy, ye bridegroom and bride !
Yes ! sweetly ye bloom, gentle flowers and trees—
Ye never deceived me with flattering vows !
Be ye, my companions; and thou, fragrant breeze,
Bring peace to my heart, and refresh my pale brows !
The birds will not fly me—the dove shall not fear,
But lead her young offspring to hop round my feet;
At morning, at evening, or distant or near,
Their warble and murmur shall ever sound sweet.
At noon in the depth of the forest I'll rest;
The deer unmolested shall couch at my side:
At sunset I'll turn to the rich glowing west,
And wander by moonlight where soft waters glide.
Farewell then, vain world ! and false friends, once
so dear !
Unpitied, unknown, in these shades will I dwell;
My absence—my death e'en, will cause you no tear,
And my green lonely grave no proud marble shall tell.
France, Feb . 1826.
I'VE wandered through Gallia's tapestried halls—
Proud are her pageants, and brilliant her balls:
I've seen voluptuous orbs of jet,
Bright in their deep silken fringes set;
Lips, like red roses, with dew-drops wet,
Lips from whence Cupid might shower his darts,
When their low, soft, musical language departs.
I've heard the sighing of light guitars,
Breathing out love to the silent stars;
While the listening maid her night-watch keeps,
Then forth from her lattice one moment peeps;
And kisses the flower she plucks from her breast,
Ere it fall—on the minstrel's heart to be prest !
I've seen the orange-wreath's clusters pale,
And the tear and the blush through the long white veil;
The tender, yet tremulous glance of the bride,
On th' enraptured youth who kneels by her side:
The priest—the altar, which, ere they rise,
Shall join the lovers in nuptial ties.
I've seen the band on the nun's pure brow,
And heard her pronounce the unchanging vow:
She was fair and young, and her crimsoned cheek
Wore a tear that told more than words could speak—
It shone like a gem in the morning's ray,
But no sunbeam shall drink the soft treasure away !
I've looked on the shadowy pall of blue,
Which over the maiden's corpse they threw;
And the virginal crowns of silver bright
Gleaming beneath the wax tapers' light,
Mid fragrant showers that over her fell
To the chaunt and the organ's sacred swell;
And the after prayer, and the churchyard wreath,
That soften in thought the cold mansions of death.
THE OCEAN BRIDE.
Sept . 1827.
ALTAMONTE ! light of mine eyes, my soul !
Come with me where the blue waters roll !
Leave the red wine-cup, thy fathers, and all
The barons who feast in the banqueting hall;
And come, sweet Count, to thy true love's call !
Look on these waves, all tinged with the sky;
Not a step, not a breath, not an echo is nigh:
Look on yon wandering white sail there,
Scarcely swelled by the languid air:
Look on yon sun that sinketh to rest,
Sweetly lulled on the ocean's breast;—
Thou art that sun to me !—my life
Without thee were darkness, and toil, and strife:
Thou art yon wandering bark to me,
And I'll be an ocean of love to thee !
Canst thou not hear my young heart beat,
Ere thou hast spoken, and oft as we meet ?
Hast thou not sworn to make me thine,
By sacred altar and rite divine ?
Hast thou not sworn to be mine own ?
And now wouldst thou leave thine Ondine alone ?
Star of my worship, and life of my heart,
Think what a death it would be—to part !
Not for the coronet over thy brow,
But to thyself mine existence I vow:—
By the light of those eyes I swear,
Storm, and battle, and death to share:
By the breath of those lips I'll prove,
Tender, forgiving, and true to thy love:
And oh, what power can rend from thy side
Thy faithful, thy blest, thine adoring bride !
Altamonte, dearest ! thou wilt not smile;
Look once more on this flowery isle:
Hath Ondine's voice lost every charm,
And wilt thou spurn her encircling arm ?
Once thou prizedst mine amber hair—
Is its lustre gone, or my brow less fair ?
Altamonte, look ! the day is past,
Evening's shadows are gathering fast:
The tide is swelling—the breeze grows strong—
The broad moon is rolling the clouds along,
And the stars are singing my funeral song
Start not, Altamonte !—this must be,
Unless this hour thou'lt wed with me;
The tide is swelling—the tide is bright,
For the full-moon sheds o'er the surge her light !
Yes ! thou hast clasped thine Ondine to thy
Would we were never again to part !
Now let me drink thy sigh once more,
One first—last kiss—on the lips I adore !
But the wave hath swept o'er her foot of snow,
And her cheek and her eyes no longer glow:
Like a shadow of mist she fadeth away,
Veiled and dissolved in the silvery spray;
Yet as she sinks in her humid grave
A murmur of love floats over the wave;
Plaintive sigheth a voice unseen,
"Dearest ! forget not the faithful Ondine !"
Bound by the spell of the sea-nymph's smile,
Altamonte dwells on that lovely isle;
Lonely and sad he wandereth there,
Breathing his plaints to the desolate air;
And ever at full of the moon and the tide,
Floats on the billow his Ocean-bride.
Dripping and bright, her beautiful hair
Streams o'er her bosom and shoulders bare;
And oh ! her pale blue eyes express
A world of sorrow and tenderness.
'Tis but a moment she sparkleth there,
Waiving her arms as the moonlight fair;
A crystal wreath she bears in her hand,
And her voice is heard on the enchanted land;
Its tones are soft as the harps low sigh,
Touched by the breeze, as it wanders by;
"Altamonte ! plunge the surge beneath,
Let me crown thee with this bright wreath !
Come with me through these violet waves,
To our glittering halls and our amber caves !"
Then as she sinks, more impassioned and faint.
More sweetly she warbles her fond complaint:
"Dearest ! Farewell ! to Ondine be true—"
And the waves gently murmur "Adieu—adieu !"
Note .—The idea of this little Romance is borrowed from a
German writer, who has imagined a race of beings capable of
existing beneath the waters—mortal, like ourselves, but more
beautiful, and endued with supernatural powers during their
fanciful existence. They were sometimes permitted to
dwell on the earth for a season; and if during the allotted period
they could obtain the hand as well as the heart of their
lover, they received a soul by this union, and relinquished
all claim to the ocean. But if, on the contrary, the
fair sea-nymph was rejected, or failed to secure her marriage
before the expiration of her visit amongst us, the law of her
sovereign obliged her to return to his aquatic dominions for the
remainder of her life.
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH.
CAN I forget thee ? Cruel, cease—
Nor doom me to far worse than death !
Yes—if thou wilt, love, joy, and peace
I'll yield thee, but I'll keep my
Yes—when the bee forsakes the heath,
Nor sips fresh sweets from flowery
When the young rose and myrtle wreath,
The zephyrs fond caress refuse;
When chasing o'er the verdant lawn,
Aroused by horn and huntsman's cry;
The startled hounds before the fawn,
Shall all in wild confusion fly;
When the pure stream her course shall change,
Returning towards the source she left;
Then I'll forget, nor deem it strange,
That I am of thy love bereft !
Can I forget thee ? Ask me not !
To change my heart, the task were vain;
I love my tears, I love my lot,
Since thou hast caused my joy and
BY the rustic bridge and stream,
Where shone September's early beam;
By the oak at close of day,
Lighted by pale Cynthia's ray;
By the notes which touched thine ear,
Which thou ne'er again wilt hear;
When between us rolls the sea,—
Say—wilt thou remember me ?
'TIS sweet to sit in a lonely bower,
With jessamine, rose and woodbine flower,
And clustering ivy-leaves, made dim,
And list to the grasshopper's evening hymn;—
To watch the stream as it glides along,
And hear the nightingale's fragrant song,
As she warbles her tremulous, plaintive love,
In the quivering aspen shades above:
When the sun hath set, and the day is past,
And dews of evening are gathering fast—
The twilight hour ! the twilight hour,
There's nothing so sweet as the twilight hour !
Oh ! then we think on the friends we've loved
On those by absence and death removed;
Again we see them—again we hear
Their voices of melody melt in our ear;
And hope to soften our cares, the while,
Sheds on our hearts her heavenly smile—
We drink of joy—we fondly rove
Over regions of bliss, on the wings of love !
And one, more dear than light to the eye,
Seems to linger around, breathing sigh for sigh—
The twilight hour ! the twilight hour !
Oh ! there's nothing so sweet as the twilight hour
Yes ! at that hour, when all is still,
Save the beat of the heart and the fall of the rill,
Fond memory's dream can half restore
The tide of delight we may know no more;
One form beloved I see at my side,
And I gaze on a lip of beautiful pride.
Oh ! who that has seen, can ever forget,
Those raven curls, and those eyes of jet !
'Twas at that hour we parted last—
How swift the moments of parting past !
The twilight hour—the twilight hour—
How sad, yet how sweet, was that twilight hour !
The sea was heavy, the sky was dark,
The low sail flapped o'er the fisherman's bark;
One streak of light went round the deep,
Between the dense clouds and its faithless sleep;
The fitful breeze that came over the shore,
Whispered my heart, we should meet no more !
The dusky shade of that evening light,
Made thy voice more soft, and thine eyes more bright.
And though my soul on thine accents hung,
No answering words could leave my tongue.
The twilight hour—the parting hour—
Dost thou remember that twilight hour ?
The feelings I felt I could not express;
And the hand that I held I dared not press;
I knew thou for ever wept parted from me,
By fate, by fortune, and by the dark sea !
Where art thou ? tell me—under what clime
Now dost thou pass thy youth's sweet prime ?
Is thy faith plighted ? or art thou free,
And may I with innocence think on thee ?
Or dost thou, 'mid thine embowering shades,
Wander with lovelier, happier maids,
The twilight hour ? sweet twilight hour !
Yet think once on me, in the twilight hour !
France, May, 1826.
ONCE more, Guitar, thy plaintive strings
Return my fond caress—
But oh ! their sound to memory brings
Departed happiness !
Those joyous hours are passed away
When hope my heart beguiled;
When Nature's beauties charmed the day
And friends around me smiled.
How oft I've wooed thy strings beneath
The cool o'ershading trees;
While perfumes, from each summer wreath,
Swept by me on the breeze.
Companion of that soft retreat,
Thy silver chords no more
The passing breeze shall fondly greet,
Nor rose-leaves scatter o'er.
No more those shades beloved shall hear
Thy notes, or mistress view.
Soft shades ! sweet breeze ! and kindred
To each—to all, adieu !
Oh, let these chords again be mute,
No joy they now impart.
Thou canst not charm, unconscious lute,
Nor soothe an aching heart.
ADDRESSED TO A LADY.
SPRING'S early gems not yet disclose
Their fragrance to the dewy gale;
But Fancy bids my hands compose
A wreath less beautiful and frail.
When Summer's breath unfolds her flowers,
And verdant shades to rest invite,
These painted buds in leafy bowers
Were pale and loveless to your
But when stern Winter veils the sky
And Nature weeps her frozen tears;
When genial suns their smiles deny,
And earth one gloomy livery wears—
These imitated flowers may meet
An altered brow, a glance of pleasure;
Recall, perhaps, remembrance sweet,
And yield, in thought, their balmy
If not on these you'll deign to muse,
Go, seek fair May's enamelled glade,
And gather from her varied hues
A moral, ere the woodbines fade.
Thus pleasure's blossoms, bright and glowing,
Attract and charm the wanderer's eye;
At morn, their radiant leaves are blowing;
At eve, their transient beauties
Love, hope, and joy may round us smile,
With rosy kips and perfumed breath;
May fascinate the heart—but while
We touch their cup, we drink of death
Virtue alone, though prized by few,
And seldom known or sought for here,
Wears roses dipped in heavenly dew,
Unfurling, through each circling
Virtue can charm th' immortal soul,
True peace and happiness impart,
And shed, when life's dark tempests roll,
Celestial fragrance o'er the heart.
France, Feb . 7, 1826.
SAY, who is she that kneels and weeps
Beside yon new raised earth ?
Mourns she her true love there who sleeps,
Or those who gave her birth ?
Fondly her hand hath wreathed around,
The chaplets of her love;
Meet types ! their blossoms strew the ground,
Their sweets exhale above !
It is not for her love she weeps,
It is not for her sire;
It is not there her sister sleeps—
No—'tis her heart's desire !
And o'er his infant tomb her hand
Hath placed the sacred sign;
As symbol of her faith to stand,
And pledge of love divine.
And now, as o'er her child she bends,
Dissolved in deepest woe,
Her voiceless prayer to Heaven ascends
For him who fades below.
Yet mingles with her prayer the sigh
Of tenderest regret,
As each lost charm floats past her eye,
With brimming tear-drops wet.
"And oh !" she thought, "my child, my child
Thou liest beneath this earth !—
Would Heav'n thou ne'er hadst on me smiled !
Why did I give thee birth ?
"Who now thy mother's path shall cheer,
My son—my own sweet son !
But ah ! forgive, my God, each tear—
Thy will supreme be done !"
Thus falling on the funeral wreath,
Her drooping eyelids close;
And calmly seems Zarene to breathe
In strange and deep repose.
A flitting sound is in the air,
Like viewless spirits's wings;
The gentle breeze that lifts her hair
Celestial fragrance flings.
Etherial harps are breathing near
And one sweet chord hath swept her ear—
"Mother ! weep not for me
Is it her own loved child she views,
Borne in a flood of light—
Beaming with soft angelic hues,
And clad in robes of white ?
Yes ! by that brow so pure, so fair,
And cheek's carnation glow;
By the bright waves of golden hair,
That o'er his shoulders flow:
By those blue orbs of tenderness,
Lit with unearthly beams;
By the sweet lip that wooes caress,
And as the ruby gleams.
"'Tis Florian ! my own loved boy,
These eyes enraptured see:
My Florian ! my life's best joy !"—
—"Mother ! weep not for me
"Weep not for me ! I dwell above
With spirits of the just:
For Jesu's everlasting love
Hath called me from the dust.
"Why mourn'st thou o'er my mouldering clay ?
My spirit is not there !
My fleshly robes—can they repay
Thy fond maternal care ?
"Oh ! learn to look beyond this world,
The sun and starry skies;—
Oh ! that yon clouds might be unfurled,
And Heaven before thine eyes !
"Immortal joys and bliss divine
In Paradise we prove:
No sun, no moon, no stars there shine—
Our light is Jesu's love !
"The first-redeemed from earth are we,
And this our high estate;
To chaunt his praise who made us free,
And round his footstool wait.
"'Worthy the Lamb that once was slain !
The Saviour of our souls;
World without end our Christ shall reign !'
'Tis thus our chorus rolls.
"Thou seest me, of my radiance shorn,
For mortal sight is dim;
Thou couldst not bear, as I have borne,
The glance of seraphim !
"And now I come to comfort thee,
And bid thee weep no more:
I died to live eternally !—
Wilt thou that death deplore ?
"Pray not for me ! for vain were prayers,
When harvest time were come,
If I were gathered with the tares,
To snatch me from my doom.
"And dost thou hope, my mother dear,
Thy tears of love could save,
If I were in the lake you fear,
Or call me from the grave ?
"If Christ had not redeemed me
From death, with his own blood;
What earthly hand my soul should free
From Satan's burning flood ?
"But I am blest—supremely blest !
In Paradise I dwell !
Weep not thy prayer for Florian's rest—
Mother ! farewell—farewell
Thus spake the seraph, ere he flew
To gem the Eternal's throne:
Zarene received his soft adieu—
She 'waked—and was alone !
Nov . 1828.
ASTRE charmant ! tes rayons argentés
Embellissent ces fleuris et tranquilles
Ton front enchanteur dans les eaux repetés,
Semble briller encore, sous ces antiques
Mille étoiles étincellent pour éclairer ta cour,
Avec joie elles parsement le bel azur des
Serais tu des ames pures, le céleste séjour ?
Et vous mille étoiles, les palais des
J'entends dans le lointain, les vagues gémissantes,
Qui roulent lentement sur le sein de la
Et viennent déposer leurs neiges écumantes,
Sur les bords parfumés et riants, de la
Le zéphir s'arrête amoureux, près les fleurs,
S'énivre de leurs trésors, leurs feuilles
Et sans en dérober les tendres faveurs,
Leur parfum s'envole sur ces aîles
Le calme est partout—et les hommes—la nature,
Respirent à la fois cet aimable
Les regrets s'affoiblissent—et le sentiment pur,
D'un eternel avenir, remplit notre
O nuit ! que je t'aime ! que j'adore tes
Ton regard,ton sourire, toujours parlent à
L'éclat du soleil, et ses brillans ardeurs,
O nuit chérie ! ne vaillent pas
ta douceur !
France, Feb . 1826.
LET Delta sing the wall-flower,
And Landon the red-rose;
I'll gather from an humbler bower
A wreath less frail than those.
The golden wall-flower so bright,
That welcometh soft Spring,
Is dimmed by Summer's orient light,
And dies 'neath Winter's wing.
The blushing rose, so sweet, so fair,
Love's radiant brow adorns;
With heavenly fragrance fills the air—
But see ye not the thorns !
The wall-flower, the queenly rose,
Fair children of the sun,
Unfold at morn, at evening close—
With his their course is run.
But there's a wreath—the ivy-wreath,
Whose everlasting green
Outlives the burning noontide's breath,
And cheers the wintry scene.
Around the broad, majestic oak
It twines so tenderly,
Nor time's stern blast, nor woodman's stroke,
Shall rend it from the tree.
The stately boughs may break—the leaves
May droop and fall away;
Yet firm in death the ivy weaves,
Go ! seek the grey, deserted halls
Of revel and renown;
There, mantling o'er the silent halls,
It hangs—a fadeless crown.
It dwells in soft funereal gloom,
Enfolds the hallowed mound;
And fondly wraps the mouldering tomb
With verdant wreaths around.
In vain December calls the blast
In darkening wrath to blow,
And o'er the pallid earth may cast
His glittering vest of snow:—
The ivy-wreath the storm will brave,
Though every flower be fled,
And cling more closely to the grave,
Engarlanding the dead !
And thus, when Fortune smiles no more,
And joy's bright hues depart,
With fervency unknown before,
Will love, the faithful heart.
For oh ! can flash or whirlwind rend
Affection's bond in twain ?
The blast which severs the false friend,
But rivets the heart's chain !
Then, Landon, wear thy rose of red,
Entwined with myrtle boughs;
And, Delta, be the wall-flower spread
In splendour o'er thy brows;
But, ivy-wreath ! sweet type of truth,
And woman's constancy !
Years cannot dim thy faith of youth—
Mayst thou mine emblem be !
WRITTEN IN FRANCE ON THE FIRST OF SEPTEMBER 1826.
Dec . 1828.
FIRST -BORN of Autumn's sons, whose golden
Hath 'waked my soft regrets, inspire my theme !
Wide o'er the sky thy mellow glories fling,
And shower abundance from thy radiant wing !
Sweet Flora's train, and Summer's orient blaze,
Have yielded to thy less devouring rays:
Thy cooler breath has chilled their faint perfume,
And tinged Pomona's cheek with brighter bloom.
Sweet month ! I love thy rich harmonious light,
Thy peaceful smile enchants and soothes my sight:
I love amid thy fluttering leaves to muse,
To watch departing day's empurpled hues,
Or watch the rising star through twilight dews:—
Though fresh and fair thine annual beauties shine,
These pure enjoyments are no longer mine !
Enchanting vales, ye glad no more mine eyes—
No more I dwell beneath my natal skies !
Yet faithful memory, with unerring art,
Pourtrays your image in my constant heart:
Still o'er your oak-crowned meads my thoughts behold
September's veil of moist, transparent gold !
O'er yonder fields hath past the reaper's hand;
The plenteous shocks in measured order stand;
The weary gleaner slowly strays around,
And plucks the scattered ears that strew the ground:
Dark wave surrounding woods of various green,
And snow-white spires complete the glittering scene.
Still in those emerald shades I seem to roam,
And build in Fancy's realm my fairy home:
The light acacia shades again my head,
While misty showers her feathery branches shed:
Again October's death-note meets mine ear,
And hark ! the hunter's merry horn I hear !
Now swift along the dewy glebe they fly,
The chase pursuing, and the hounds in cry:
Now lost to sight, involved in clustering trees,
Their joyous shout returns on morning's breeze:
Now indistinct, dissolved in distance, fades,
And beautiful repose embalms the glades !
Delightful Albion ! country of my soul !
How long between us shall dark ocean roll ?
No foreign clime shall woo my heart from thee,
But more endear thy name beloved to me.
Land of renown, of beauty, and of worth,
When shall thine exile greet thy hallowed earth ?
A FAREWELL TO H. R. H, PRINCE GEORGE OF CUMBERLAND,
ON HIS LEAVING WINDSOR, AUGUST 13, 1829.
FAREWELL, dear royal youth, Prince George, farewell !
In Windsor's shades since thou no more mayst dwell !
Yet in Germania's bowers, I deem, thy mind
Will wander o'er the landscape left behind.
Yon hoary towers, that o'er the woodlands green
Majestic rising, crown the sylvan scene;
(Whose glorious standard, to the breeze unfurled,
Hath waived unconquered over half the world;—)
The wild dark forest, and the soft retreat
Of sovereign taste, alike thine eye shall meet.
The beauteous temples, and the glittering streams
Bright as illusions of the poet's dreams;—
Yes—all that thought and memory hold dear,
In Fancy's mirror shall pourtrayed appear !
Farewell ! and bear with thee a nation's prayer,
That thou mayst recompense thy father's care.—
Think not the shore thou leav'st is foreign earth,
Though lovely Albion did not give thee birth:—
Smooth be her seas, and softly favouring gales
Impel thy bark, and fill the lingering sails !
Years may roll on, ere thou perchance again
Shalt view thine ancestors' superb domain:
Thy brow, now pure as Spring's unsullied snow,
May then with Love or Glory's bright wreath glow;
And that soft cheek, now dimpled, round, and fair,
The ardent bloom of life's brief summer wear;
And the clear azure of thy youthful eye
May burn and beam with aspirations high.
Time will but blend with courage, thought, and sense,
Thine early smile of hope and innocence;
Or give, whene'er those hues of joy retire,
The calm, deep resolution of thy sire:—
Thus, in maturer years, in thee will shine
The grace and dignity of Brunswick's line.
But oh ! whate'er thy form or face may be,
May Christian faith and virtue dwell in thee;
Celestial peace and strength of mind impart,
And regulate each movement of thy heart !
Virtue, the noblest, most unchanging gem
That ever graced an earthly diadem,
And Christian faith, th' eternal crown may win
That shades the glories of the seraphim !
Be what thy grandsire was, illustrious youth,
LINES WRITTEN AFTER SEEING THE GALLANT SIR E. C.
The friend of justice, liberty, and truth !
So shall thy royal kindred pleased behold
Departed worth again in thee unfold:
So shall thy country hail thy rising fame,
And British millions bless the Guelphic name !
WHAT ! is it thus, my native land,
Art thou indeed so changed,
That valour, freedom, and renown,
Are from thy smiles estranged ?
While France and Russia own with pride
The laurels nobly won,
Wilt thou with partial hand refuse
To crown thy conquering son ?
Is Britain's heart become so cold
To deeds of deathless fame ?—
The very thought is keen disgrace,
And dyes my cheek with shame !
It must not be—it shall not be,
'Till Britain's sons are slaves;
And she whom oceans once obeyed,
No longer rules the waves.
Ye warriors of the stormy deep,
Dear are your names to me:
My humble lyre at least shall chaunt
Your gallant victory !
And thou, brave Codrington, accept
One verse of ardent praise—
Oh ! that the muse could half reveal
Her tribute in these lays !
Long mayst thou wear th' immortal wreath
Of glory on thy brow:
A power divine hath placed it there—
Who dares unbind it now ?
No—Britain is not quite so lost
To Honour's lofty tone:
The chord that swells on Grecia's shore
Shall vibrate on our own !
Dec . 7, 1828.
STANZAS TO MARIA. SENT WITH AN ORNAMENTAL STEEL CHAIN, &c.
ACCEPT, from one whose heart is true,
The trifles that now meet your view:
The only merit they possess
Is, to recall past happiness;
Those hours that fled so swiftly sweet,
Whose spirits still around me fleet,
And whisper, we again may meet !
While worn around your neck, this chain
Will daily warmth and brightness gain:
But if my gift neglected lay,
'Twill tarnish, moulder, and decay,
Till link from link have dropped away.
Oh ! let me thus upon your mind
The chain of recollection bind;
'Tis a light fetter, freely worn,
But once removed, not oft reborne.
There is a wreath around my heart,
Entwined, that never can depart:
Still fragrant, though no longer fair,
Hope's fading flowers are scattered there.
The memories of those I love,
Nor time, nor distance, can remove:
I can each absent form and face,
Each look and tender smile retrace;
And on the tablet of my mind
Maria's name engraved you'll find;—
(Maria, faithful and sincere,
E'en could she change, to me were dear !)
Soft words, sweet thoughts, there treasured lie,
And prove my heart's fidelity.
O'er scenes which joy once rendered bright,
Remembrance sheds a lovelier light;
And o'er my early griefs she throws
A veil that wraps them in repose.
For I have proved, though still in youth,
That love and friendship have no truth:
But yet their magic is so sweet,
Who would not trust the dear deceit ?
The present charms me not;—I seem
To live alone in Memory's dream.
And thus the future and the past
Together blend, and o'er me cast
An image of the rainbow form,
That gleams above the April storm.
What though etherial its birth,
Both ends, descending, meet the earth:
So youth's fond hopes enraptured spring,
Their radiance o'er despair to fling;
And thoughts that once illumed the breast,
Turn darkly in the grave to rest:—
The grave ! ah, no—those meteors rise
To melt within their kindred skies !
Forgive this transient gloom, my friend—
Thou'lt wish my prosing at an end:
But ere the muse my pen resigns,
Sincerity would trace these lines.
May Hope's sweet light upon thee shine,
And Love's soft wreath thy brows entwine !
May Sorrow's tear ne'er dim thine eye,
Nor Disappointment raise the sigh:
May Peace and Virtue with thee dwell,
Is my fond prayer——Farewell ! farewell !
WHO DIED AT SAINT OMER, JUNE 25, 1822.
France, March, 1825.
HOW beautiful is death !—a deep repose
Enfolds that brow, as cold as moonlight snows;
And o'er those gentle orbs is thrown a veil,
Whose pale long fringes shade a cheek more pale !
How beautiful is death !—a ray of bliss
Embalms those lips I still in death must kiss !
A smile of endless and celestial peace
That bids our soft regrets and sorrows cease.
O'er infancy and innocence like thine
Death sheds a beam of glory—pre-divine !
And yet I mourned in silence, yester-night
And watched thee by the taper's glimmering light;
Almost I fancied, in thy long cold sleep,
Thy lips serenely smiled, to see me weep !
Yes ! death is beautiful—when past,—but oh,
How terrible th' approach of life's last foe !
I almost worshipped thee—thou wert so fair,
So sad, so touching, so forlorn. Whoe'er
Could gaze upon thy soft, resigned, sweet eyes
Nor feel a mother's fondness for thee rise ?
Sleep on, beloved one ! though I would give
My all to save thee, if thou still didst live:
Child of my tenderest hopes, I would not break
Thy heavenly slumber now, nor bid thee wake
In life's dark labyrinth. Thou ne'er canst know
The sins or sorrows of this world of woe.
Thy sainted spirit soars on angel wings
And joins in chorus to the King of kings—
Hath left its fair and perishable clay,
And dwells in cloudless and eternal day !
Oh ! let me kiss once more, with sad delight,
Those beauteous hands of pure transparent white !
Thy cheek, thy lips, thy brow, thine eyes—'tis past !
And I have looked my fondest—and my last !
Now o'er thy virgin pall, with tears we strew
The blushing rose, the pink, and pansey blue:
But these we spread upon thine early tomb
Are types of youth and beauty's living bloom:
Thy placid cheek ne'er felt their radiant glow,
More meet for thine were Spring's first flower of snow,
Nurtured through storm, to cheer one wintry hour,
Then turn from light, as bends that drooping flower.
Nor e'en within the tomb shalt thou be prest,
Upon thy young and hapless mother's breast,
Far from her fading form, who gave thee birth,
Must thine, dear infant ! rest in foreign earth !
Thy lowly grave shall drink the morning dew,
And setting sunbeams gild the dark trees through:
The careless passenger shall by thee tread,
And scarcely view thee, 'mid surrounding dead;
Thy modest name, engraven on no stone,
To foe and friend, alike shall rest unknown;
Yet, though no verse thy land or lineage tell,
For ever in our hearts thy treasured name shall dwell.
Jan . 1826
WARRIOR ! before we part,
Take the faith of Dirce's heart !
Grecia bids thee nobly die,
Or avenge her slavery !
Warrior ! seek th' embattled strand,
Dirce yields thy plighted hand !
Freedom shall not call in vain
Grecian galleys on the main:
Warrior ! leave thy virgin bride—
Stars are glimmering o'er the tide:
Anchored in yon silvery bay,
Lonely sits thy bark—away !
Take this bracelet, as a charm,
Warm from off thy Dirce's arm;
Since red battle lures thee hence
Wear it as thy life's defence:
May it every pang repress,
Breathing Dirce's tenderness.
Merion ! as to eve the dew,
Dirce shall to thee prove true;
By yon hallowed moon whose light
Brilliants the dark brow of night,
Bridal vows I pledge thee here—
Thus thy path will Dirce cheer !
As the ivy on this tree,
Shall her faith encircle thee;
Though the leaves, the tree decay,
Nought can rend that wreath away:
Merion ! leave thy native strand—
Hence ! deserve our nuptial band !
By the lyre that now I touch,
Song by thee once loved so much—
By these tears that bathe mine eye,
By thy Dirce's tenderest sigh;
Though between us roll the deep
Still to thee my faith I'll keep:
Leave me, Warrior ! leave me—prove
A VISION. SHOWING THE EMBLEMATIC APPROPRIATION OF FLOWERS
Fame and freedom dear as love !
Yon sweet breeze that fans the shore,
Soon will bring the battle's roar:
List—the angry surge and spray,
Chafe and chide thy long delay;
Bridegroom,—Warrior !—haste—away !
ONE midsummer evening, reclined in the shade,
By willows, and aspens, and hawthorn trees, made;
A rivulet near such a murmur did keep,
And the boughs overhead, that they lulled me to sleep.
Yet I seemed not to sleep, for the voice of a bird
That sat in the branches distinctly I heard;
But mellowed, and softened, like music afar;
And I saw, in my slumber, the pale evening star.
My senses were steeped in delicious repose,
And visions of bliss to my fancy arose;
I thought of the absent—I thought of the dear—
I thought of the faithless—but shed not a tear !
I saw them once more, as in happier youth;
In earliest beauty—in holiest truth !
I felt the soft pressure of lips and of hands,
That falsehood hath severed from Amity's bands.
But sudden, while drinking this stream of delight,
An ivory Temple arose in my sight;
A throne of turquoise the wide portals display'd,
And upon it there sat an etherial maid.
A thousand fresh roses were breathing around,
And diamonds and pearls seemed to shine on the ground;
Young Zephirs I saw, floating over bright flowers,
And Sylphs were reposing in jessamine bowers.
I felt a sweet harmony steal through the air
Of fragrance, and melody, borne to the fair
Their tribute of incense the flowers had paid,
And Zephyr the treasure to Flora conveyed.
While I gazed on the beautiful vision, spell-bound,
Mine ears caught an answering musical sound;
"O listen !" said I to my friends—but they all
Had left me before, at the goddess's call.
"Come hither ! come hither ! what wreath
will you wear ?
The myrtle for lovers, the rose for the fair;
Carnation and lily, and sweet eglantine,
With dew-dropping jacinthes, and pansies I twine.
"The evergreen laurel, the cypress so grave,
For glory and hope; for the poet and brave,
These buds of vermilion from Grenada's bowers,
Are sacred to honour, and called her bright flowers.
"These silver-white stars, shining out from between
Their long-pointed foliage of emerald green,
And pale mignionette, with its tufts of soft down,
Shall mingle Simplicity's beautiful crown.
"This Tyrian flower, half veiled in the shade,
But by its own breath of ambrosia betrayed,
Transported I gathered, and uttered the vow,
To place, when I met her, on Modesty's brow.
"Come hither, soft maidens ! Is he whom you love
Parted from you, and fear you inconstant he'll prove ?
Take this blossom, with petals of yellow and blue,
It will tell the dear youth to be faithful and true.
"The sweet Grecian-pea shall drive sorrow away,
The hawthorn Sincerity's charm shall display;
But let not the sunflower's glittering crest,
Or azure campanula, droop o'er your breast !
"This fragrant narcissus belongs to the vain;
The poppy to indolence—scabius, to pain.
I grieve my loved flowers should find such receiver,
And give the jonquil to the heartless deceiver.
"Who comes for the myrtle ? who comes for the rose
Who merits the garland my breath shall compose ?"—
As she spoke a fair train gathered silently round,
And each bent the head by the nymph to be crowned
"I claim," said a minstrel, "the myrtle and rose;"
"They are yours," said the goddess, "as all the world knows;
But those who determine Love's emblems to wear,
Have sometimes an iris placed in their hair !"
Then forth came a soldier, with proud martial brow,
And lowered his casque for the evergreen bough;
The chaplet of glory she gave him, and threw
The bright scarlet buds to a youth in "true blue."
Two feminine forms now advanced to the throne,
And soon to be "Sisters of Friendship" were known;
A garland of oak-leaves and rose-buds, entwined
Their tresses, which gracefully waved in the wind.
One arm round each other with fondness they cast,
And each gained a smile, as th'assembly she past;
Aurelia's blush deepened, and flashed her blue eye,
But Daphne turned pale, and repressed a soft sigh,
"Ye're welcome, fair maids !" said the queen of the flowers,
"And long may ye wander in these happy bowers !
Meantime this green ivy I fling o'er your hands,
And fetter you both in reciprocal bands.
This white-blossomed lily, so stainless and pure,
Will suit your dark ringlets, sweet Daphne, I'm sure.
Aurelia ! come chuse for yourself, and we'll see
What flower you wish your own emblem to be."
Aurelia now looked on the blossom of snow,
And thought 'twould contrast with her cheeks' ruby glow;
So, placing a Guelderland rose in her hair,
Cried, "This is the emblem, fair Flora, I'll wear !"
"O never ! O never !" the nymph made reply,
"You know not its meaning—another one try !"
And Aurelia beheld, with a mixture of pain,
Her guelder-rose broken, and strewed on the plain.
Another she sought, as the goddess decreed,
But one was too gaudy, and one was a weed !
At length she selected, and smiled as she prest
A blooming auricula on her young breast.
"Ah ! Daphne," sighed Flora, "your vows are in
False friends will betray, while unchanged you remain !"
The ivy-wreath faded and dropped while she spoke,
For its magical spell the auricula broke !
Then Jessy flew forward, and, snatching the wreath,
Revived it at once with affection's warm breath.
"No, Flora !" she cried, "at least one will prove true;
This symbol of friendship I claim as my due !"
"Thy tears," said the goddess, "are moist on its leaves,
But weep not, my Daphne, for her who deceives;
Once more this green ivy your hands shall entwine,
For Jessy's attachment will know no decline !"
Constantia approached with a diffident air;
And Flora was pleased with her brow calm and fair.
I saw she was decked, when she turned to my view,
With a cluster of hawthorn, and violets blue.
Two lovers came next to be crowned by the fair
(Some myrtle already was wreathed in their hair);
Says Flora, "Allow me those leaves to remove,
For Hymen is waiting to sanction your love.
"He told me in secret, when passing just now,
These blossoms of orange he plucked for your brow,
Be happy—be constant—and ever beware
Of the iceplant and marygold, coldness and care.
"But lest you should deem me unkind or severe,
This heliotrope take, 'twill each other endear;
It boasts not of beauty, it lives not for fame,
And its birth from a tear of sweet tenderness came."
The lovers departed, with smiles of delight,
For Hymen stood near, with his torch burning bright:
"You are mine ! by those blossoms of orange," he
"My altar awaits ye, fair bridegroom and bride !"
Now fast fell the fragrance from Flora's soft hand,
She gracefully smiled on the numerous band;
And poets, and heroes, and lovers, and maids,
Received all, in turn, their appropriate shades.
Just then I emerged from my silent retreat;
Impelled by example, and fell at her feet;
A moment she paused, to recall me to mind,
Then my temples with virginal snowdrops entwined.
"No emblem that suits you exactly is here,
Fidelia," she said, "for so late you appear."
But she raised, while she spoke, my loved lute from the ground,
And its chords with a tender mimosa-wreath bound.
The murmuring chords, by her light fingers kissed,
Returned the soft touch, and the vision dismissed;
My eyelids unclosed to the moon's rising beam,
And the garden of Flora—was only a dream !
Note .—The following list will explain the language of
flowers as usually understood in France.
- Cypress . . . Hope.
- Laurel . . . Glory.
- Grenade (Pomegranate) . . . Honour.
- Jessamine . . . Innocence.
- Mignionette . . . Simplicity.
- Violet . . . Modesty.
- Heartsease . . . Remembrance.
- Grecian, or Sweet-pea . . . Gaiety.
- Hawthorn . . . Sincerity.
- Sunflower . . . Flattery.
- Campanula . . . Gallantry.
- Narcissus . . . Vanity.
- Poppy . . . Indolence.
- Scabius . . . Grief.
- Myrtle . . . Love.
- Rose . . . Beauty.
- Iris . . . Inconstancy.
- Ivy . . . Friendship.
- Lily . . . Purity.
- Guelder-rose . . . Calumny.
- Auricula . . . Perfidy.
- Orange flower . . . Marriage.
- Heliotrope . . . Tenderness.
- Snow-drop . . . Perseverance.
- Mimosa . . . Sensibility.
[In original text, date appears at end of poem and before
WRITTEN IN FRANCE, FEB. 1826.
DEAR shades of my country ! dear land of my
Fair woodlands—green valleys—and bright
rolling streams !
How long shall I roam from your much-beloved earth,
And only behold you in memory's dreams
Ye dark waving pines, whose deep-murmuring boughs
Shed fragrance and gloom on the turf's
O when, while pale harebells encircle my brows—
O when in your shadows again shall I rest
The sweet evening chimes that enchanted mine ear,
As borne o'er the waters at sunset from
I never again with soft rapture shall hear,
Nor watch the bright vane that rose like a
Dear scenes of my childhood! dear haunts of my youth !
Ye never may greet me, or echo my name;
But she, who has loved you with ardour and truth,
Will still love, through absence and
distance, the same !
My Country ! my country ! for thee do I
And I sigh to behold thy white rocks and
In silence I mourn, that mine ashes must sleep,
Far, far from thy bosom—dear land of my birth !
THUS Memory's wand to mental sight can raise
The varied forms and scenes of happier days;
The tender smile, the hand's soft touch, restore
Of those beloved ones we may meet no more;
And o'er the heart's despondency can fling
The fragrant hues and early flowers of spring,
In all their vanished freshness—but to wake
From this blest dream is death !—my lute-strings—break !
BEAUTIFUL spirit ! with the downcast eye,
And auburn braided tress, and brow of snow;
With coral lip serene, and step ethereal,
Falling unheard, calm, graceful, bright, and soft
As moonlight o'er the waters—gentle nurse
Of Poesy's young dreams of hope and love,
And tender melancholy—thee I woo !
The eye beholds thee not—thou art too bright
For mortal vision—nor hath mortal ear
Drank in thy voice of sacred sweetness. But
The mind, itself immortal, feels thy presence,
Reads thy language, written on the page
Of universal nature—and beholds thee
Beauteous as shadowy forms by Fancy framed.
Whether at dewy morn, arrayed in light,
Watching the opening flowers of roseate hue;
Or from the mystic arch of harmony,
Celestial smiling, o'er the vernal shower
Which bathes the glittering earth in liquid pearls:
Or yet more lovely, at the close of day
Floating on amber wings along the sky,
Tinged with a thousand hues of glorious sunset.
Where art thou fled, sweet Silence ? Dost thou dwell
In the deep twilight of the cypress grove,
Forsaking life, to muse on death's repose ?
Or in the cloudless purity of stars,
Intensely glowing from their azure depths ?
By the clear stream, o'erhung with trembling leaves,
'Mid solemn shades, that veil thy presence there,
Dost thou contemplative recline ? entranced
In visionary bliss, poured from the skies around ?
There would I pass the sacred hours with thee,
(If mortal form might share thy solitude)
Nor break thy loneliness—but mutely fix
My heavenward glance on those celestial orbs
Of most unutterable radiancy,
Imperishably throned above ! while thoughts,
Extatic thoughts of immortality,
Shall wake and kindle in my raptured breast,
And bear my soul on wings of faith, from earth,
To drink th' unfurling joys of Paradise !
Alas! thou hear'st me not—in vain, my sighs
To thine impenetrable haunts I waft:
I seek thee, but I find thee not—yet still
Unseen, I worship and invoke thy power.
Enchantress ! I have need of thee—my soul
Is full of sadness, and mine eyes o'erflow
With tears unbidden—irrepressible !
A sense of unknown and approaching ill
Weighs on my spirits and confines my breath:
My life seems shaded with the dews of eve
Ere its young morn be past:—a veil of darkness
Shrouds the dim future, and obscures the past !
Hope hath departed:—Friendship, like a leaf,
The last, yet lingers, fluttering on the bough;
But the next breeze may waft it far from me.
E'en when I cull thy flowers, fair Poesy,
(The sweetest solace of my pensive hours,)
They droop, they fade, they languish in my grasp !
And ye too, faithless—more than faithless kindred !
Whom I was taught to love with tenderness
And truth—ye have oppressed a suffering heart,
And added one more fetter to the chain
That sorrow twines around me, yet would smile
In bitter mockery if ye saw me weep.
Why is my heart thus solitary, while
The world can see no cause of grief for me ?
Why am I sad, while some of dearer tie
Remain around, and mix their tears with mine;
While she, the idol-sister of my soul,
Breathes her sweet accents on my doating ear ?
Wherefore is this ?—I know not:—all I know
Is, that I sorrow beyond utterance !
And when I see others more blest than me,
And hear their lightsome laugh, I envy not
Their joy—but with a sigh I wish that I were dead !
Come, then, O Silence, come ! no more delay,
And let me fold thee in my fond embrace.
O ! lead me to thy fragrant, fair retreat,
With thee to pass the sweetly-gliding day:
There shall I find that peace so long unknown
Amid embowering shades, and streams, and flowers:
There let me muse on happier hours, gone by
Like balmy odours on the fleeting breeze:
There let me wander forth, 'mid evening dews,
And watch the glories of the star-lit sky:
There let me probe my heart's most secret thoughts,
And bid regret and murmuring depart:
There let me bend the knee in prayer to Him
Who makes the weak and fatherless his care:
There shall I learn that life is but the path
That leads the wanderer to his Father's home:
And though with roses strewed, or briars deformed,
They who can crush the thorn, or pass the rose
That warns or lures them to forsake their course;
They who with humble faith rely on Heaven,
And rest their hope upon that eastern star
Which led the shepherds to their infant King—
Unhurt shall pass through life's short joy or pain,
And death shall bring them to that home again !
LINES WRITTEN ON MY PILLOW DURING SEVERE ILLNESS,
Feb . 1827.
JULY 1829, AND ADDRESSED TO A BEAUTIFUL INFANT.
FAINT, powerless, at the noon of day,
Upon my weary couch I lay;
No longer heaving in the breeze,
I watched the green majestic trees;
Or heard the sheep-bell tinkling near,
Or blackbird's song so blithe and clear:
A dewy darkness veiled my sight,
While shone around meridian light.
As thus, scarce breathing, I reclined,
This vision blessed my languid mind:—
Methought a gentle spirit came
To renovate my fainting frame:
No language from his lips of rose
Shed fragrance o'er my faint repose;
But, O ! their silent innocence
Breathed purer, holier eloquence !
And ever o'er them beamed the while
A smile—a calm, sweet, balmy smile.
A gentle radiance from his eyes,
Soft as the moonlight from the skies,
Fell on my trembling heart, and stilled
The tumult o'er my brain that thrilled;
Recalled my wandering soul, and shed
A peaceful influence round my bed.
Dear infant, 'tis to thee I owe
That moment's brief returning glow:
Thou wert the spirit sent to bless,
WRITTEN AT FIFTEEN.
And smile away my weariness:
Thine were the gentle eyes whose light
Dispelled the mental hues of night,
Bade hope return, despondence cease,
And o'er me beamed the rays of peace !
And thus, sweet Innocent, mayst thou,
If care should rend thy placid brow,
Or mortal pain thy form so fair
Should be by Heaven ordained to bear;
If ripening years should teach thy heart
That happiness and youth can part—
Mayst thou, life's darkening hour to cheer,
Behold a guardian angel near !
HOW still, how awful, strike these shades of death,
As now, with cautious foot and stifled breath,
The grassy sod or new-raised earth we tread,
And gaze, in mute attention, on the dead !
Or pensive read the time-worn lettered stone,
That mourns a child beloved—too early flown.
Yon mantling ivy decks the parents' tomb,
And rugged elms involve in softening gloom.
Lo ! there connubial love and hope are laid,
And here the faithful and forsaken maid;
Like some young rose, whose leaves the cold winds blight,
So closed her half-blown charms in death's deep night.
The aged bent with care, with woes opprest,
The young so late with health and fortune blest;
The vain, the thoughtless, pious, friend, and foe,
Have felt alike death's stern, unerring blow;
All undistinguished lie around us here,
And all have claimed the debt of Nature's tear.
Yet mourn not hopeless, ye that o'er them weep !
Your loved ones die not ! no—they do but sleep !
And when the last dread trump of God shall sound,
While fearful earthquakes rock th' affrighted ground;
The dead in Christ immortal shall arise,
And with their Lord ascend the glorious skies !
Divine Redeemer ! Christ—eternal Lord !
By man, by saint, by seraphim, adored !
From Thee, the words of promised pardon flow,
And life, immortal life, to Thee we owe !
Thy glorious cross dissolves the shades of night,
And conquers death with overpowering light:
Sealed by thy love, the grave we calmly meet,
And trust to waken at Emmanuel's feet !
"Death hath but little left him to destroy." BYRON.
THE minstrel ceased. Yet his fingers hung,
As loth to forsake the loved chords they had strung;
While pensive he stood with his temples reclined
On the harp, as some memory stole o'er his mind.
A shade of sadness came over his eye,
And the old man's vest seemed heaved by a sigh;
But the stranger who leaned by the greenwood trees,
Thought the plaid, like his white locks, moved in the
Then bending his glance tow'rd the emerald plain,
The chords replied to his fingers again;
And a low, sweet murmuring cadence arose,
A prelude to deeper and tenderer woes.
"Who is that maiden, so pale, so fair—
Whose cheek seems stained by a secret care ?
Her loose brown curls fall over her brow,
As if she disdained to adorn them now !
"The earth is bright with the treasures of spring,
The lark hath stretched his aspiring wing;
And poureth his notes of joy and gladness,
On her, who stands wrapt in her veil of sadness !
"The heaven is cloudless, the air is sweet;
And flowers are sighing around her feet;
But she heeds them not, for her joyless eye
Is dimly fixed on vacancy !
"And now a tremor hath o'er her past;
Her lip hath quivered in Memory's blast.
If I read aright, her thought must be,
'This lovely creation—is nothing to me !'
"I knew that maid, when her eyes were bright,
When her lips and her cheeks were tinged with delight;
But they shone with a radiancy not their own,
For that smile, that blush, and that light are flown.
"'Twas but the reflection of joy that shone;
Now joy hath fled, the reflection is gone.
Oh, why should the mirror unbroken remain,
When joy cannot brighten its surface again !
"The maid was not beauteous—but earliest youth,
And tenderness, innocence, hope and truth,
When kindled up by Love's rosy light,
Might make her seem fair in the loved one's sight.
"He came, that youth from a distant land,
Soft was his accent, and soft was his hand;
Soft were his sighs, and the homage he paid,
But softer than all—was the heart of the maid !
"I've seen him bend o'er his tuneful lyre,
His dark eyes beaming with eastern fire:
And while he sang his enchanting lays,
On her's was fixed the bright, dangerous gaze.
"He poured on her soul his passionate breath,
Blighting each pulse with a tincture of death;
But love cannot die—although hope can give
No charm to existence, still love must live !
"Day after day, has he breathed in her ear
The music she loved, yet trembled to hear;
The notes of his country he mingled with sighs,
And volumes of truth seemed revealed in his eyes.
"She learned to live but in their soft light,
And her days have since been as rayless as night;
Like those who have gazed too long on the sun,
Aught else is dark that they look upon !
"Thus her heart believed what her reason denied;
For she felt she never might be his bride—
And she deemed that she loved him not, till she knew
He soon must take his eternal adieu !
"Look on her, stranger, as now she stands,
Dropping the rose from her listless hands:
Her thoughts float back to the time, when he
Was guiding her bark o'er love's bright sea.
"The noonday sun is radiant and glowing,
The fragrant breezes are round her blowing
All things in nature are sweet and gay—
But she feels not their charms, nor the sun's warm ray !
"A viewless spirit hath bound her soul
With a tender, a sad, a resistless control:
A stillness—a coldness hath crept o'er her frame,
And we scarcely can say, that yon maid is the same.
"Why is it that Love, when he once takes wing,
Should leave the young heart such a desolate thing
She hath sisters around her, and friends who are nearer,
But yet her false love is a thousand times dearer !
"That dark-haired youth is now far away—
And he wished her to fly with him, they say;
But alone he sailed o'er the deep-blue main,
And she never, no never, shall see him again !
"But, stranger, think thou not aught amiss—
Her lips have not felt one faithless kiss;
They are still untouched and pure as the flower
That silently fades in its greenwood bower.
And not one thought o'er her heart hath strayed,
That could raise a blush on the cheek of the maid;
Her love was spotless, sincere, and true;
As the sunbeam warm—and as heavenly too !
"We see that the charm of her life is broke;
But of him, or her passion, she never hath spoke;
And if by chance but his name she hears,
She glideth away to conceal her tears.
"Oh love ! first love! what art thou ?—a
Shining in beautiful silence afar—
Unseen in the splendour and blaze of the day,
And shedding o'er darkness its tremulous ray !
"The deeper the gloom is, the purer its light,
Yet we sigh while we gaze on the gem of the night;
Like love, it illumines the shadows of even,
And smiles on our earth—but its home is in heaven !
"Now hither she comes—but, before she sees,
Retire with me among these dark trees;
For, although her friend, I would not intrude
Or break on her much-loved solitude.
"Seest thou yon hall, on the hill's far brow ?
'Twas once her home—but she dwells not now
Amid those shades and streams and flowers,
Where passed her early, her happiest hours.
"They think—alas ! how vain is the thought
That peace of the mind can by change be brought;
Ah ! little they deem that no earthly art
Can soften the pangs of a breaking heart !
"But yet, sometimes, amid Mirth's young band,
She will sing her sweet song, or bestow her soft hand;
And float through the dance with so light an air,
With a smile on her lips—in her heart despair,—
"That none would dream, when they look on the wreath
That bindeth her brow, of the thorns beneath.
O ! woman, fond woman, can languish and die,
Yet veil her deep sadness from every eye !
"And this is man's work ! thus he gathers the
Then leaves its young fragrance to fade on the tomb:
But if there's a heaven, as surely I trust,
The soul of that fragrance shall rise from the dust
"Immortal—to ripen in Eden's soft air !
While he who hath withered a flower so fair,
Too gentle to shrink from his treacherous hand,
As surely by Heaven condemned shall stand !
"I hear her step on the yielding grass—
Look forth a moment, and see her pass:
Her large soft eyes in full tears are dim,
Her mind—her soul is dwelling on him !
"But, stranger, thou tremblest—thy cheek is pale,
Thy pity is wakened at this sad tale—
Merciful Heaven ! I'll tell thee no more:
Back ! false youth !—thou art Isidore !"
How deep the sigh from his bosom that broke,
As he doffed the horseman's cap and cloak;
And wildly rushed from the shadowy grove,
Breathing the name of his faithful love !
She hears that voice—but to her it seems
The fancied sound of her midnight dreams;
For oft when pale slumber subdueth her fears,
Its memoried sweetness floats over her ears.
Yet the blood hath rapidly fled to her heart,
And, with breath suspended and lips apart,
She pauses—enchained by the secret spell,
Which those who have loved must know too well.
Isidore's accents distinctly she hears,
Gentle and fond as in happier years:
"Forgive, dearest maid !" cried the suppliant youth
"Celia, I pledge thee unchanging truth !
"Here, as I press thee entwined on my heart,
I swear no more from thy love to part !"—
Forgiveness and tenderness beamed in her eye,
But a long, faint shriek, was her only reply.
Slowly she sank in her Isidore's arms,
While a ghastly hue spread over her charms:
He raised the loose curls from her innocent head,
And he ardently gazed—but he looked on the dead !
WRITTEN ON NOVEMBER 19, 1828.
THE skies are cloudless—faintly, dimly blue;
And o'er the russet earth and moveless trees
A soft grey mist, in calm repose, descends.
The moon is deeply, beautifully bright,
Tinging the circle round her orb of gold
With amber light, gleaming thro' woodland shades;
By pale November's cold and dewy grasp
Or' all their verdant loveliness despoiled;
Still on whose boughs enough sear leaves remain
To blend and harmonize with evening's shade.
For 'tis not night:—what, though yon radiant globe
Rolls onward in her course appointed, while
No trace of her ethereal path is left
Upon the still cerulean tide of heaven:—
And now her light is changing: paler hues,
But not less eloquent, to gold succeed;
And stars around come indistinctly forth,
Like silver barks, attendant on their queen !
Now o'er yon lofty elms she sails supreme,
Beaming with radiancy ineffable !
Beauteous as when for Eden's bowers of bliss,
By God's command, she sprang from darkness void
To be a light, a sign, and, glorious guide,
Unchanged amid the wreck of centuries !—
In silent splendour, robed with holiest truth,
Thou travellest still amongst the worlds of light,
Gilding the deep nocturnal atmosphere
With rays of peace, and hope, and heavenly love !
Time shall not dim thy brilliancy, nor fling
One dusky shadow o'er thy brow sublime;
While all that breathes, and moves, and smiles on earth,
Now bright with life's too perishable flowers,
Shall fade from being to dark nothingness.
Yon towering trees that lift their heads on high,
Waving, when Summer smiles, their green luxuriance:
Yon stately palace of Britannia's kings,
Whose hoary towers above the moonlight scene
Rising in proud magnificence, have braved,
And still will brave, time's desolating blast,
From age to age—perchance for countless years:
The forest shade, the woodland flower, alike
Will surely sink in gradual decay:—
The royal mansion, too, shall meet at last
The universal doom, though long delayed,
And fall, beneath the stern devouring dart,
A fair, majestic, and immortal ruin !
Thus all things grand, young, beautiful, shall die,
And mix unheeded in the dust of millions:
Yet wilt thou shine unchanged—unchangeable,
With all thy calm intensity of light,
Mocking th' incertitude of earthly pomps:
For God hath called and set thee in the heavens
Thus to proclaim his mercy, power, and love !
Celestial Orb ! this was my natal night—
But, ah ! no source of joy is life to me:
For Sorrow claimed and wrapt me in her wings,
Moulding my tearful soul to thoughts of death
And bliss thereafter,—for this world contains
No pure, no permanent delight.—
Upon my darkened mind, and raise my hopes
From thee to thy Creator, glorious moon !
Perchance before thine annual course be run,
Calm I may rest beneath sepulchral clay.
Alas ! how many, since my natal hour,
Of those who loved me, and to me were bound
By Nature's tenderest ties, have dropped away
From life's bright circle to the noiseless grave !
Perchance—but, ah ! to me far worse than death,
Some heart beloved may burst its mortal bonds,
And leave me here to weep unceasing tears;—
Ceaseless, but not despairing—for the soul
With humble faith beholds these glittering stars,
And views, beyond the mansions of the blest !
My natal night ! how passing fair art thou !
How calm, serene—resplendently divine !
Th' autumnal gale hath sighed itself to rest,
And not a sound disturbs the soft, still air,
Or flits along the solitary shade.—
'Tis night—most pure, sublime, unsullied night !
Glowing with sacred radiancy: and stars,
Intensely bright, enwreath th' ethereal blue,
Breathing unutterable harmony !—
Hushed is each throbbing pulse, like autumn's breeze;
Each tear, save that of conscious sin, subdued:—
The spirit kindles, as the transient glow
Of earthly hopes and passions fade in night,
And wakes the deep devotion of the heart
In ardent thoughts of immortality !
Rise then, my soul, on Contemplation's wings,
Expand thy sacred plumes, no more surcharged
With dews of sadness, or terrestrial dust:
Enraptured soar to heaven's supreme domain,
And blend with angels' harps thy notes of praise !
Gaze on the Source of everlasting life,
Revealed to faith in God's almighty Son,
Girt with innumerous hosts of cherubim,
Archangels, seraphs, and adoring saints:
Crowned with transcendent brightness, sits enthroned
Thy sovereign Lord—the great Redeemer—Christ !
Celestial Conqueror he reigns—while Death
And Hell are trembling, crouched beneath his feet !
Behold, my soul, thine Advocate ! thy Judge,
Clad in tremendous power, at once to crush
Impenitence and Sin ! He deigns to smile
On guilty man—omnipotent to save !
O ! what immortal gratitude is thine—
Can aught but seraphs' notes thy praise declare ?
Fall, suppliant, fall before thy Saviour's throne,
Bathing his sacred feet with tears of joy:
And there, o'erwhelmed with holiest love, adore
And melt with ecstacy and bliss divine !
COURTEOUS, endearing, innocent, and kind;
Beauty and sense their varied powers combined
In the same mould, to form her face and mind—
Wit, genuine taste, and talents without art,
Shone through her life, but not impaired her heart.
Tender, compassionate, and free from guile,
Truth, grace, and virtue, blended in her smile !
The gentle accents of her pitying voice
Consoled the sick, and bade the poor rejoice;
And well its tones of elegance exprest
Each kindly feeling of her generous breast.
Her dear remembrance now around me brings
The early joys that fled on childhood's wings.—
Sweet was the dewy walk at eve with her,
When scarce a breath the slumbering leaves could stir;
As o'er the velvet paths with daisies spread,
We wandered till the last faint gleam was fled.
I love the chesnuts' shade—the bower of yew—
And each, and every flower that meets my view,
Which round her porch, and in her garden grew.
The damask-rose in crimson pride was there,
The striped—the white—the maiden-blush most fair;
The yellow jasmin's golden stars were seen,
Waving the woodbine's spiral crowns between:
The graceful columbine, the spicy clove,
The azure bird's-eye, dear to absent love,
Together mingled in her favourite grove,
That Spring's soft hand attired in rainbow dress,
Shedding forth hope, peace, fragrance—loveliness !
For ever treasured be those flowers by me,
In whose pure leaves her honoured name I see.
Oft as their odours steal across my heart,
A nameless, mute communion they impart !
Oh ! what unmixed delight it was to press,
With duteous, fond, and infantine caress,
The smooth, soft, snowy, and encircling arm
That staid my steps, and shielded me from harm !
O ! how her voice of tenderness could thrill
My heart—wherein its echoes vibrate still !
Sweetly those eyes my childish sports approved,
Or smiled indulgent if her lips reproved:
Those orbs, outliving youth, undimmed and bright,
Like sunset glowing, 'mid the shades of night !
Beloved Instructress ! Parent, Guardian, Friend !
With resignation still our tears contend;
As all thy soft and mingled charms arise,
Succeeding fast, before thy children's eyes,—
Thy long-enduring tenderness and love,
Which death itself, perhaps, will not remove !
For sure such feelings were to mortals given,
As pledge and foretaste of a future heaven.
Perhaps e'en now thy bright angelic face
Beholds these lines my trembling fingers trace:
Perhaps yon shadowy cloud from sight conceals
The spirit-form that thought alone reveals !
Perhaps—but wherefore tempt thee from thy rest ?
Where'er thou art, I deem that thou art blest !
Wit, beauty, virtue, save not from the tomb,
Nor age, nor infancy, nor youth's soft bloom;
All meet alike the irrevocable doom,—
And deep within the cold and silent earth
They lie, till Christ shall give them second birth !
Vain is the hope, the strength of humankind.
The pride of empire, learning, wealth, or mind:
Each must decrease—and all at length decay;
The world—e'en heaven itself—shall pass away !
But fixed, unchanged, immutable, remains
The word of Him who burst Death's icy chains.
Redeeming love hath said, that all who trust
In Him to live, shall waken from the dust;
Called by archangel blast, sublime to rise
On wings of rapture to th' unfolding skies !—
O ! may our parent's glorious lot be this,
And Death translate her to immortal bliss !
Jan . 1828.
I HAVE been on Indian isle,
Where the sunbeams fiercely smile:
I have watched those living lights
Which adorn the Western nights,
Glimmering on Pimento trees,
Fanned by the deadly moonlight breeze.
I have seen the white waves dash
O'er the conchs of roseate dye;
And the graceful calabash
Wave his feathery arms on high.
I have sat in myrtle bowers,
Twining bands of orange flowers,
Or the scarlet wreaths that deck
Liquorice branch, and Elthiop ' neck.
I have seen th' Atlantic seas
Heaving in the summer breeze;
There beheld above the spray,
Glittering winged fish dart their way;
And the lovely dolphin glide,
Like a rainbow, o'er the tide.
I have heard the howling blast
Sweep against the shivering mast,
While the hoarsely-roaring surge
Mocked the drowning seaman's dirge !
I have seen the riven shroud,
Lightning-flash, and thunder cloud;
And the waves run mountains high,
Black and dreadful as the sky.
I have watched the stars at night
Their eternal vigils keep,
Shedding forth their holy light,
Mirrored in the pathless deep;
Brightly silent—sweetly blest,
Bidding stormy spirits rest.
I remember, once, a light
Burst upon my startled gaze,
Rushing tow'rds the clouds of night
With a wide, tremendous blaze !
Sounds there were of fear and woe—
Dark forms gliding to and fro,
There, with chattering teeth that told
Horror makes life's stream run cold,
Bent two maidens o'er the sea,
Reading on its blazoned waves
Liquid fires in ocean-graves !—
Indistinctly on my mind
Is that record now enshrined.
I have seen my father's hall
Gaily wreathed for sprightly ball:
There, beneath the lustres' light,
Glided youths and maidens bright,
O'er the smooth elastic floor,
Which shall feel their touch no more !
There, when all around me smiled,
Was I a sad and silent child:
Thoughts, beyond my infant years,
Strangely filled mine eyes with tears:—
Time has proved the vision true,
Which then darkly rose to view.
He who fondly kissed my cheek,
Hears no more his children speak.
She whose young and beauteous eyes
Made each heart her willing prize,
Never with a sister's love
Shall again my griefs remove.
He, that rosy, bright-haired boy,
Rosy-lipped, and tinged with joy;
Bold, yet fond—twin-born with me,
Shall no more his kindred see:—
Each, and all—together sleep—
Stranger, had I cause to weep ?
But 'tis past—long past—a dream
Kindled up by Memory's beam:
Now the beacon-light expires,
Veiled in shade the muse retires;
Murmuring, as she fades away,
"Do not spurn my simple lay !"
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