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Why do I weep?—to leave the vine,
Whose clusters o'er me bend?
The myrtle-yet, oh! call it mine!
The flowers I loved to tend?
A thousand thoughts of all things dear,
Like shadows o'er me sweep,
I leave my sunny childhood here,
Oh! therefore let me weep!
I leave thee, sister—we have played
Through many a joyous hour,
Where the silvery green of the olive shade
Hung dim o'er fount and bower!
Yes ! thou and I, by stream, by shore,
In song, in prayer, in sleep,
Have been as we may be no more-
Kind sister, let me weep!
I leave thee, father!-Eve's bright moon
Must now light other feet,
With the gathered grapes, and the lyre in tune,
Thy homeward steps to greet !
Thou in whose voice, to bless thy child,
Lay tones of love so deep,
Whose eye o'er all my youth hath smiled, -
I leave thee !-let me weep!
Mother! I leave thee !-on thy breast,
Pouring out joy and woe,
I have found that holy place of rest
Still changeless-yet I go!
Lips that have lulled me with your strain,
Eyes that have watched my sleep;
Will earth give love like yours again ?-
Sweet mother, let me weep!
The moonlight fell like pity o'er the walls
And broken arches, which the conqueror, Time,
Had rode unto destruction; the grey moss
A silver cloak, hung lightly o'er the ruins;
And nothing came upon the soul but soft,
Sad images. And this was once a palace,
Where the rich viol answered to the lute,
And maidens flung the flowers from their hair
Till the halls swam with perfume: here the dance
Kept time with light harps, and yet lighter feet;
And here the beautiful Mary kept her court,
Where sighs and smiles made her regality,
And dreamed not of the long and many years
When the heart was to waste itself away
In hope, whose anxiousness was as a curse:
Here, royal in her beauty and her power,
The prison and the scaffold, could they be
But things whose very naine was not for her?
And this, now fallen sanctuary, how oft
Have hymns and incense made it holiness ;
How oft, perhaps, at the low midnight hour,
Its once fair mistress may have stol'n to pour
At its pure altar, thoughts which have no vent,
But deep and silent prayer; when the heart finds
That it may not suffice unto itself,
But seeks communion with that other state,
Whose mystery to it is as a shroud
In which it may conceal its strife of thought,
And find repose.
But it is utterly changed : No incense rises, save some chance wild-flower Breathes grateful to the air; no hymn is heard, No sound, but the bat's melancholy wings; And desolation breathes from all around.
And thus it is with links of destiny:
Clay fastens on with gold—and none may tell
What the chain's next unravelling will be.
Alas, the mockeries in which fate delights!
Alas, for time!-still more, alas, for change!
The moon is sailing o'er the sky,
But lonely all, as if she pined
For somewhat of companionship,
And felt it was in vain she shined :
Earth is her mirror, and the stars
Are as the court around her throne;
She is a beauty and a queen;
But what of this ? she is alone.
Where are those who may share with thee
Thy glorious royalty on high?
I cannot choose but pity thee,
Thou lovely orphan of the sky.
I'd rather be the meanest flower
That grows, my mother earth, on thee,
So there were others of my kin,
To blossom, bloom, droop, die with me.
Earth, thou hast sorrow, grief, and death;
But with these better could I bear,
Than reach and rule yon radiant sphere,
And be a solitary there.
If I had thought thou couldst have died,
I might not weep for thee;
But I forgot, when by thy side,
That thou couldst mortal be:
It never through my mind had past,
The time would e'er be o'er,
And I on thee should look my last,
And thou shouldst smile no more!
And still upon that face I look,
And think 't will smile again;
And still the thought I will not brook,
That I must look in vain!
But when I speak, thou dost not say
What thou ne'er left'st unsaid,
And now I feel, as well I may,
Sweet Mary! thou art dead !
If thou would'st stay even as thou art,
All cold, and all serene,
I still might press thy silent heart,
And where thy smiles have been ! While e'en thy chill, bleak corse I have,
Thou seemest still mine own,
But there I lay thee in thy grave-
And I am now alone!
I do not think, where'er thou art,
Thou hast forgotten me;
And I perhaps may soothe this heart,
In thinking too of thee:
Yet there was round thee such a dawn
Of light ne'er seen before,
As fancy never could have drawn,
And never can restore !
On thou, by heaven ordained to be
Arbitress of man's destiny !
From thy sweet lip one tender sigh,
One glance from thine approving eye,
Can raise or bend him at thy will
To virtue's noblest flight, or worst extremes of ill.
Be angel-minded, and despise
Thy sex's little vanities;
And let not Passion's lawless tide
Thy better purpose sweep aside :
For woe awaits the evil hour,
That lends to man's annoy thy heaven-entrusted power.
Woman! 'tis thine to cleanse his heart
From every gross unholy part :
Thine, in domestic solitude,
To win him to be wise and good :
His pattern, friend, and guide to be-
To give him back the heaven he forfeited for thee !
Those withered leaves along the cold ground spread,
Did once the sweetest of all flowers compose ; And though full many a sun hath seen them shed,
They still are odorous as the living rose. So breathes the memory of departed worth,
When years have mourned it in the silent tomb; There is a fragrance in the holy earth
Where virtue sleeps, that time cannot consume. The good man dies, but with his parting breath
Bequeaths the world a sweet that knows no death,