Percy Bysshe Shelley (4. august 1792 – 8. juli 1822) var en engelsk digter. Han regnes for en af det engelske sprogs absolut største digtere. I Danmark kendes Shelley nok mest for The Sensitive Plant i Sophus Claussens gendigtning: Den følende Blomst. Han var gift med forfatteren Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. (Kilde: Wikipedia)
Thy country’s curse is on thee, darkest crest
Of that foul, knotted, many-headed worm
Which rends our Mother’s bosom—Priestly Pest!
Masked Resurrection of a buried Form!
Thy country’s curse is on thee! Justice sold,
Truth trampled, Nature’s landmarks overthrown,
And heaps of fraud-accumulated gold,
Plead, loud as thunder, at Destruction’s throne.
And whilst that sure slow Angel which aye stands
Watching the beck of Mutability
Delays to execute her high commands,
And, though a nation weeps, spares thine and thee,
Oh, let a father’s curse be on thy soul,
And let a daughter’s hope be on thy tomb;
Be both, on thy gray head, a leaden cowl
To weigh thee down to thine approaching doom.
I curse thee by a parent’s outraged love,
By hopes long cherished and too lately lost,
By gentle feelings thou couldst never prove,
By griefs which thy stern nature never crossed;
By those infantine smiles of happy light,
Which were a fire within a stranger’s hearth,
Quenched even when kindled, in untimely night
Hiding the promise of a lovely birth:
By those unpractised accents of young speech,
Which he who is a father thought to frame
To gentlest lore, such as the wisest teach—
THOU strike the lyre of mind!—oh, grief and shame!
By all the happy see in children’s growth—
That undeveloped flower of budding years—
Sweetness and sadness interwoven both,
Source of the sweetest hopes and saddest fears-
By all the days, under an hireling’s care,
Of dull constraint and bitter heaviness,—
O wretched ye if ever any were,—
Sadder than orphans, yet not fatherless!
By the false cant which on their innocent lips
Must hang like poison on an opening bloom,
By the dark creeds which cover with eclipse
Their pathway from the cradle to the tomb—
By thy most impious Hell, and all its terror;
By all the grief, the madness, and the guilt
Of thine impostures, which must be their error—
That sand on which thy crumbling power is built—
By thy complicity with lust and hate—
Thy thirst for tears—thy hunger after gold—
The ready frauds which ever on thee wait—
The servile arts in which thou hast grown old—
By thy most killing sneer, and by thy smile—
By all the arts and snares of thy black den,
And—for thou canst outweep the crocodile—
By thy false tears—those millstones braining men—
By all the hate which checks a father’s love—
By all the scorn which kills a father’s care—
By those most impious hands which dared remove
Nature’s high bounds—by thee—and by despair—
Yes, the despair which bids a father groan,
And cry, ‘My children are no longer mine—
The blood within those veins may be mine own,
But—Tyrant—their polluted souls are thine;—
I curse thee—though I hate thee not.—O slave!
If thou couldst quench the earth-consuming Hell
Of which thou art a daemon, on thy grave
This curse should be a blessing. Fare thee well!
They die—the dead return not—Misery
Sits near an open grave and calls them over,
A Youth with hoary hair and haggard eye—
They are the names of kindred, friend and lover,
Which he so feebly calls—they all are gone—
Fond wretch, all dead! those vacant names alone,
This most familiar scene, my pain—
These tombs—alone remain.
Misery, my sweetest friend—oh, weep no more!
Thou wilt not be consoled—I wonder not!
For I have seen thee from thy dwelling’s door
Watch the calm sunset with them, and this spot
Was even as bright and calm, but transitory,
And now thy hopes are gone, thy hair is hoary;
This most familiar scene, my pain—
These tombs—alone remain.
Of cloud which the wild tempest weaves in air,
When the moon over the ocean’s line
Is spreading the locks of her bright gray hair.
O that a chariot of cloud were mine!
I would sail on the waves of the billowy wind
To the mountain peak and the rocky lake,
Honey from silkworms who can gather,
Or silk from the yellow bee?
The grass may grow in winter weather
As soon as hate in me.
Hate men who cant, and men who pray,
And men who rail like thee;
An equal passion to repay
They are not coy like me.
Or seek some slave of power and gold
To be thy dear heart’s mate;
Thy love will move that bigot cold
Sooner than me, thy hate.
A passion like the one I prove
Cannot divided be;
I hate thy want of truth and love—
How should I then hate thee?
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert…Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Drenching yon secret Aethiopian dells,
And from the desert’s ice-girt pinnacles
Where Frost and Heat in strange embraces blend
On Atlas, fields of moist snow half depend.
Girt there with blasts and meteors Tempest dwells
By Nile’s aereal urn, with rapid spells
Urging those waters to their mighty end.
O’er Egypt’s land of Memory floods are level
And they are thine, O Nile—and well thou knowest
That soul-sustaining airs and blasts of evil
And fruits and poisons spring where’er thou flowest.
Beware, O Man—for knowledge must to thee,
Like the great flood to Egypt, ever be.
With your brown eyes bright and clear.
And your sweet voice, like a bird
Singing love to its lone mate
In the ivy bower disconsolate;
Voice the sweetest ever heard!
And your brow more…
Than the … sky
Of this azure Italy.
Mary dear, come to me soon,
I am not well whilst thou art far;
As sunset to the sphered moon,
As twilight to the western star,
Thou, beloved, art to me.
O Mary dear, that you were here;
The Castle echo whispers ‘Here!’
Come, be happy!—sit near me,
Coy, unwilling, silent bride,
Mourning in thy robe of pride,
Come, be happy!—sit near me:
Sad as I may seem to thee,
I am happier far than thou,
Lady, whose imperial brow
Is endiademed with woe.
Misery! we have known each other,
Like a sister and a brother
Living in the same lone home,
Many years—we must live some
Hours or ages yet to come.
‘Tis an evil lot, and yet
Let us make the best of it;
If love can live when pleasure dies,
We two will love, till in our eyes
This heart’s Hell seem Paradise.
Come, be happy!—lie thee down
On the fresh grass newly mown,
Where the Grasshopper doth sing
Merrily—one joyous thing
In a world of sorrowing!
There our tent shall be the willow,
And mine arm shall be thy pillow;
Sounds and odours, sorrowful
Because they once were sweet, shall lull
Us to slumber, deep and dull.
Ha! thy frozen pulses flutter
With a love thou darest not utter.
Thou art murmuring—thou art weeping—
Is thine icy bosom leaping
While my burning heart lies sleeping?
Kiss me;—oh! thy lips are cold:
Round my neck thine arms enfold—
They are soft, but chill and dead;
And thy tears upon my head
Burn like points of frozen lead.
Hasten to the bridal bed—
Underneath the grave ‘tis spread:
In darkness may our love be hid,
Oblivion be our coverlid—
We may rest, and none forbid.
Clasp me till our hearts be grown
Like two shadows into one;
Till this dreadful transport may
Like a vapour fade away,
In the sleep that lasts alway.
We may dream, in that long sleep,
That we are not those who weep;
E’en as Pleasure dreams of thee,
Thou mayst dream of her with me.
Let us laugh, and make our mirth,
At the shadows of the earth,
As dogs bay the moonlight clouds,
Which, like spectres wrapped in shrouds,
Pass o’er night in multitudes.
All the wide world, beside us,
Show like multitudinous
Puppets passing from a scene;
What but mockery can they mean,
Where I am—where thou hast been?
(I think such hearts yet never came to good)
Hated to hear, under the stars or moon,
One nightingale in an interfluous wood
Satiate the hungry dark with melody;—
And as a vale is watered by a flood,
Or as the moonlight fills the open sky
Struggling with darkness—as a tuberose
Peoples some Indian dell with scents which lie
Like clouds above the flower from which they rose,
The singing of that happy nightingale
In this sweet forest, from the golden close
Of evening till the star of dawn may fail,
Was interfused upon the silentness;
The folded roses and the violets pale
Heard her within their slumbers, the abyss
Of heaven with all its planets; the dull ear
Of the night-cradled earth; the loneliness
Of the circumfluous waters,—every sphere
And every flower and beam and cloud and wave,
And every wind of the mute atmosphere,
And every beast stretched in its rugged cave,
And every bird lulled on its mossy bough,
And every silver moth fresh from the grave
Which is its cradle—ever from below
Aspiring like one who loves too fair, too far,
To be consumed within the purest glow
Of one serene and unapproached star,
As if it were a lamp of earthly light,
Unconscious, as some human lovers are,
Itself how low, how high beyond all height
The heaven where it would perish!—and every form
That worshipped in the temple of the night
Was awed into delight, and by the charm
Girt as with an interminable zone,
Whilst that sweet bird, whose music was a storm
Of sound, shook forth the dull oblivion
Out of their dreams; harmony became love
In every soul but one.
And so this man returned with axe and saw
At evening close from killing the tall treen,
The soul of whom by Nature’s gentle law
Was each a wood-nymph, and kept ever green
The pavement and the roof of the wild copse,
Chequering the sunlight of the blue serene
With jagged leaves,—and from the forest tops
Singing the winds to sleep—or weeping oft
Fast showers of aereal water-drops
Into their mother’s bosom, sweet and soft,
Nature’s pure tears which have no bitterness;—
Around the cradles of the birds aloft
They spread themselves into the loveliness
Of fan-like leaves, and over pallid flowers
Hang like moist clouds:—or, where high branches kiss,
Make a green space among the silent bowers,
Like a vast fane in a metropolis,
Surrounded by the columns and the towers
All overwrought with branch-like traceries
In which there is religion—and the mute
Persuasion of unkindled melodies,
Odours and gleams and murmurs, which the lute
Of the blind pilot-spirit of the blast
Stirs as it sails, now grave and now acute,
Wakening the leaves and waves, ere it has passed
To such brief unison as on the brain
One tone, which never can recur, has cast,
One accent never to return again.
The world is full of Woodmen who expel
Love’s gentle Dryads from the haunts of life,
And vex the nightingales in every dell.
Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread,—behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave
Their shadows, o’er the chasm, sightless and drear.
I knew one who had lifted it—he sought,
For his lost heart was tender, things to love
But found them not, alas! nor was there aught
The world contains, the which he could approve.
Through the unheeding many he did move,
A splendour among shadows, a bright blot
Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove
For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.
There is blood on the earth that denies ye bread;
Be your wounds like eyes
To weep for the dead, the dead, the dead.
What other grief were it just to pay?
Your sons, your wives, your brethren, were they;
Who said they were slain on the battle day?
Awaken, awaken, awaken!
The slave and the tyrant are twin-born foes;
Be the cold chains shaken
To the dust where your kindred repose, repose:
Their bones in the grave will start and move,
When they hear the voices of those they love,
Most loud in the holy combat above.
Wave, wave high the banner!
When Freedom is riding to conquest by:
Though the slaves that fan her
Be Famine and Toil, giving sigh for sigh.
And ye who attend her imperial car,
Lift not your hands in the banded war,
But in her defence whose children ye are.
Glory, glory, glory,
To those who have greatly suffered and done!
Never name in story
Was greater than that which ye shall have won.
Conquerors have conquered their foes alone,
Whose revenge, pride, and power they have overthrown
Ride ye, more victorious, over your own.
Bind, bind every brow
With crownals of violet, ivy, and pine:
Hide the blood-stains now
With hues which sweet Nature has made divine:
Green strength, azure hope, and eternity:
But let not the pansy among them be;
Ye were injured, and that means memory.
Palace-roof of cloudless nights!
Paradise of golden lights!
Deep, immeasurable, vast,
Which art now, and which wert then
Of the Present and the Past,
Of the eternal Where and When,
Presence-chamber, temple, home,
Of acts and ages yet to come!
Glorious shapes have life in thee,
Earth, and all earth’s company;
Living globes which ever throng
Thy deep chasms and wildernesses;
And green worlds that glide along;
And swift stars with flashing tresses;
And icy moons most cold and bright,
And mighty suns beyond the night,
Atoms of intensest light.
Even thy name is as a god,
Heaven! for thou art the abode
Of that Power which is the glass
Wherein man his nature sees.
Generations as they pass
Worship thee with bended knees.
Their unremaining gods and they
Like a river roll away:
Thou remainest such—alway!—
Thou art but the mind’s first chamber,
Round which its young fancies clamber,
Like weak insects in a cave,
Lighted up by stalactites;
But the portal of the grave,
Where a world of new delights
Will make thy best glories seem
But a dim and noonday gleam
From the shadow of a dream!
Peace! the abyss is wreathed with scorn
At your presumption, atom-born!
What is Heaven? and what are ye
Who its brief expanse inherit?
What are suns and spheres which flee
With the instinct of that Spirit
Of which ye are but a part?
Drops which Nature’s mighty heart
Drives through thinnest veins! Depart!
What is Heaven? a globe of dew,
Filling in the morning new
Some eyed flower whose young leaves waken
On an unimagined world:
Constellated suns unshaken,
Orbits measureless, are furled
In that frail and fading sphere,
With ten millions gathered there,
To tremble, gleam, and disappear.
Poets’ food is love and fame:
If in this wide world of care
Poets could but find the same
With as little toil as they,
Would they ever change their hue
As the light chameleons do,
Suiting it to every ray
Twenty times a day?
Poets are on this cold earth,
As chameleons might be,
Hidden from their early birth
in a cave beneath the sea;
Where light is, chameleons change:
Where love is not, poets do:
Fame is love disguised: if few
Find either, never think it strange
That poets range.
Yet dare not stain with wealth or power
A poet’s free and heavenly mind:
If bright chameleons should devour
Any food but beams and wind,
They would grow as earthly soon
As their brother lizards are.
Children of a sunnier star,
Spirits from beyond the moon,
Oh, refuse the boon!
I arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night,
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright:
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Hath led me—who knows how?
To thy chamber window, Sweet!
The wandering airs they faint
On the dark, the silent stream—
The Champak odours fail
Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The nightingale’s complaint,
It dies upon her heart;—
As I must on thine,
Oh, beloved as thou art!
Oh lift me from the grass!
I die! I faint! I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast;—
Oh! press it to thine own again,
Where it will break at last.
Whom the fair-ankled Leda, mixed in love
With mighty Saturn’s Heaven-obscuring Child,
On Taygetus, that lofty mountain wild,
Brought forth in joy: mild Pollux, void of blame,
And steed-subduing Castor, heirs of fame.
These are the Powers who earth-born mortals save
And ships, whose flight is swift along the wave.
When wintry tempests o’er the savage sea
Are raging, and the sailors tremblingly
Call on the Twins of Jove with prayer and vow,
Gathered in fear upon the lofty prow,
And sacrifice with snow-white lambs,—the wind
And the huge billow bursting close behind,
Even then beneath the weltering waters bear
The staggering ship—they suddenly appear,
On yellow wings rushing athwart the sky,
And lull the blasts in mute tranquillity,
And strew the waves on the white Ocean’s bed,
Fair omen of the voyage; from toil and dread
The sailors rest, rejoicing in the sight,
And plough the quiet sea in safe delight.
Muses, who know and rule all minstrelsy
Sing the wide-winged Moon! Around the earth,
From her immortal head in Heaven shot forth,
Far light is scattered—boundless glory springs;
Where’er she spreads her many-beaming wings
The lampless air glows round her golden crown.
But when the Moon divine from Heaven is gone
Under the sea, her beams within abide,
Till, bathing her bright limbs in Ocean’s tide,
Clothing her form in garments glittering far,
And having yoked to her immortal car
The beam-invested steeds whose necks on high
Curve back, she drives to a remoter sky
A western Crescent, borne impetuously.
Then is made full the circle of her light,
And as she grows, her beams more bright and bright
Are poured from Heaven, where she is hovering then,
A wonder and a sign to mortal men.
The Son of Saturn with this glorious Power
Mingled in love and sleep—to whom she bore
Pandeia, a bright maid of beauty rare
Among the Gods, whose lives eternal are.
Hail Queen, great Moon, white-armed Divinity,
Fair-haired and favourable! thus with thee
My song beginning, by its music sweet
Shall make immortal many a glorious feat
Of demigods, with lovely lips, so well
Which minstrels, servants of the Muses, tell.
To the bright Sun, thy hymn of music pour;
Whom to the child of star-clad Heaven and Earth
Euryphaessa, large-eyed nymph, brought forth;
Euryphaessa, the famed sister fair
Of great Hyperion, who to him did bear
A race of loveliest children; the young Morn,
Whose arms are like twin roses newly born,
The fair-haired Moon, and the immortal Sun,
Who borne by heavenly steeds his race doth run
Unconquerably, illuming the abodes
Of mortal Men and the eternal Gods.
Fiercely look forth his awe-inspiring eyes,
Beneath his golden helmet, whence arise
And are shot forth afar, clear beams of light;
His countenance, with radiant glory bright,
Beneath his graceful locks far shines around,
And the light vest with which his limbs are bound,
Of woof aethereal delicately twined,
Glows in the stream of the uplifting wind.
His rapid steeds soon bear him to the West;
Where their steep flight his hands divine arrest,
And the fleet car with yoke of gold, which he
Sends from bright Heaven beneath the shadowy sea.
From everlasting thy foundations deep,
Eldest of things, Great Earth, I sing of thee!
All shapes that have their dwelling in the sea,
All things that fly, or on the ground divine
Live, move, and there are nourished—these are thine;
These from thy wealth thou dost sustain; from thee
Fair babes are born, and fruits on every tree
Hang ripe and large, revered Divinity!
The life of mortal men beneath thy sway
Is held; thy power both gives and takes away!
Happy are they whom thy mild favours nourish;
All things unstinted round them grow and flourish.
For them, endures the life-sustaining field
Its load of harvest, and their cattle yield
Large increase, and their house with wealth is filled.
Such honoured dwell in cities fair and free,
The homes of lovely women, prosperously;
Their sons exult in youth’s new budding gladness,
And their fresh daughters free from care or sadness,
With bloom-inwoven dance and happy song,
On the soft flowers the meadow-grass among,
Leap round them sporting—such delights by thee
Are given, rich Power, revered Divinity.
Mother of gods, thou Wife of starry Heaven,
Farewell! be thou propitious, and be given
A happy life for this brief melody,
Nor thou nor other songs shall unremembered be.
Athenian Pallas! tameless, chaste, and wise,
Tritogenia, town-preserving Maid,
Revered and mighty; from his awful head
Whom Jove brought forth, in warlike armour dressed,
Golden, all radiant! wonder strange possessed
The everlasting Gods that Shape to see,
Shaking a javelin keen, impetuously
Rush from the crest of Aegis-bearing Jove;
Fearfully Heaven was shaken, and did move
Beneath the might of the Cerulean-eyed;
Earth dreadfully resounded, far and wide;
And, lifted from its depths, the sea swelled high
In purple billows, the tide suddenly
Stood still, and great Hyperion’s son long time
Checked his swift steeds, till, where she stood sublime,
Pallas from her immortal shoulders threw
The arms divine; wise Jove rejoiced to view.
Child of the Aegis-bearer, hail to thee,
Nor thine nor others’ praise shall unremembered be.
Of Earth and Air pined for the Satyr leaping;
The Satyr loved with wasting madness wild
The bright nymph Lyda,—and so three went weeping.
As Pan loved Echo, Echo loved the Satyr,
The Satyr, Lyda; and so love consumed them.—
And thus to each—which was a woful matter—
To bear what they inflicted Justice doomed them;
For, inasmuch as each might hate the lover,
Each, loving, so was hated.—Ye that love not
Be warned—in thought turn this example over,
That when ye love, the like return ye prove not.
For my dagger is bathed in the blood of the brave,
I come, care-worn tenant of life, from the grave,
Where Innocence sleeps ‘neath the peace-giving sod,
And the good cease to tremble at Tyranny’s nod;
I offer a calm habitation to thee,—
Say, victim of grief, wilt thou slumber with me?
My mansion is damp, cold silence is there,
But it lulls in oblivion the fiends of despair;
Not a groan of regret, not a sigh, not a breath,
Dares dispute with grim Silence the empire of Death.
I offer a calm habitation to thee,—
Say, victim of grief, wilt thou slumber with me?
Mine eyelids are heavy; my soul seeks repose,
It longs in thy cells to embosom its woes,
It longs in thy cells to deposit its load,
Where no longer the scorpions of Perfidy goad,—
Where the phantoms of Prejudice vanish away,
And Bigotry’s bloodhounds lose scent of their prey.
Yet tell me, dark Death, when thine empire is o’er,
What awaits on Futurity’s mist-covered shore?
Cease, cease, wayward Mortal! I dare not unveil
The shadows that float o’er Eternity’s vale;
Nought waits for the good but a spirit of Love,
That will hail their blest advent to regions above.
For Love, Mortal, gleams through the gloom of my sway,
And the shades which surround me fly fast at its ray.
Hast thou loved?—Then depart from these regions of hate,
And in slumber with me blunt the arrows of fate.
I offer a calm habitation to thee.—
Say, victim of grief, wilt thou slumber with me?
Oh! sweet is thy slumber! oh! sweet is the ray
Which after thy night introduces the day;
How concealed, how persuasive, self-interest’s breath,
Though it floats to mine ear from the bosom of Death!
I hoped that I quite was forgotten by all,
Yet a lingering friend might be grieved at my fall,
And duty forbids, though I languish to die,
When departure might heave Virtue’s breast with a sigh.
O Death! O my friend! snatch this form to thy shrine,
And I fear, dear destroyer, I shall not repine.
Moonbeam, leave the shadowy vale,
To bathe this burning brow.
Moonbeam, why art thou so pale,
As thou walkest o’er the dewy dale,
Where humble wild-flowers grow?
Is it to mimic me?
But that can never be;
For thine orb is bright,
And the clouds are light,
That at intervals shadow the star-studded night.
Now all is deathy still on earth;
Nature’s tired frame reposes;
And, ere the golden morning’s birth
Its radiant hues discloses,
Flies forth its balmy breath.
But mine is the midnight of Death,
And Nature’s morn
To my bosom forlorn
Brings but a gloomier night, implants a deadlier thorn.
Wretch! Suppress the glare of madness
Struggling in thine haggard eye,
For the keenest throb of sadness,
Pale Despair’s most sickening sigh,
Is but to mimic me;
And this must ever be,
When the twilight of care,
And the night of despair,
Seem in my breast but joys to the pangs that rankle there.
Dar’st thou amid the varied multitude
To live alone, an isolated thing?
To see the busy beings round thee spring,
And care for none; in thy calm solitude,
A flower that scarce breathes in the desert rude
To Zephyr’s passing wing?
Not the swart Pariah in some Indian grove,
Lone, lean, and hunted by his brother’s hate,
Hath drunk so deep the cup of bitter fate
As that poor wretch who cannot, cannot love:
He bears a load which nothing can remove,
A killing, withering weight.
He smiles—’tis sorrow’s deadliest mockery;
He speaks—the cold words flow not from his soul;
He acts like others, drains the genial bowl,—
Yet, yet he longs—although he fears—to die;
He pants to reach what yet he seems to fly,
Dull life’s extremest goal.
To triumph whilst I die,
To triumph whilst thine ebon wing
Enfolds my shuddering soul?
O Death! where is thy sting?
Not when the tides of murder roll,
When nations groan, that kings may bask in bliss,
Death! canst thou boast a victory such as this—
When in his hour of pomp and power
His blow the mightiest murderer gave,
Mid Nature’s cries the sacrifice
Of millions to glut the grave;
When sunk the Tyrant Desolation’s slave;
Or Freedom’s life-blood streamed upon thy shrine;
Stern Tyrant, couldst thou boast a victory such as mine?
To know in dissolution’s void
That mortals’ baubles sunk decay;
That everything, but Love, destroyed
Must perish with its kindred clay,—
Perish Ambition’s crown,
Perish her sceptred sway:
From Death’s pale front fades Pride’s fastidious frown.
In Death’s damp vault the lurid fires decay,
That Envy lights at heaven-born Virtue’s beam—
That all the cares subside,
Which lurk beneath the tide
Of life’s unquiet stream;—
Yes! this is victory!
And on yon rock, whose dark form glooms the sky,
To stretch these pale limbs, when the soul is fled;
To baffle the lean passions of their prey,
To sleep within the palace of the dead!
Oh! not the King, around whose dazzling throne
His countless courtiers mock the words they say,
Triumphs amid the bud of glory blown,
As I in this cold bed, and faint expiring groan!
Tremble, ye proud, whose grandeur mocks the woe
Which props the column of unnatural state!
You the plainings, faint and low,
From Misery’s tortured soul that flow,
Shall usher to your fate.
Tremble, ye conquerors, at whose fell command
The war-fiend riots o’er a peaceful land!
You Desolation’s gory throng
Shall bear from Victory along
To that mysterious strand.
Hopes, that swell in youthful breasts,
Live not through the waste of time!
Love’s rose a host of thorns invests;
Cold, ungenial is the clime,
Where its honours blow.
Youth says, ‘The purple flowers are mine,’
Which die the while they glow.
Dear the boon to Fancy given,
Retracted whilst it’s granted:
Sweet the rose which lives in Heaven,
Although on earth ‘tis planted,
Where its honours blow,
While by earth’s slaves the leaves are riven
Which die the while they glow.
Age cannot Love destroy,
But perfidy can blast the flower,
Even when in most unwary hour
It blooms in Fancy’s bower.
Age cannot Love destroy,
But perfidy can rend the shrine
In which its vermeil splendours shine.
May sink into ne’er ending chaos and night,
Our mansions must fall, and earth vanish away,
But thy courage O Erin! may never decay.
See! the wide wasting ruin extends all around,
Our ancestors’ dwellings lie sunk on the ground,
Our foes ride in triumph throughout our domains,
And our mightiest heroes lie stretched on the plains.
Ah! dead is the harp which was wont to give pleasure,
Ah! sunk is our sweet country’s rapturous measure,
But the war note is waked, and the clangour of spears,
The dread yell of Sloghan yet sounds in our ears.
Ah! where are the heroes! triumphant in death,
Convulsed they recline on the blood sprinkled heath,
Or the yelling ghosts ride on the blast that sweeps by,
And ‘my countrymen! vengeance!’ incessantly cry.
And did you observe his frown?
He goeth to say the midnight mass,
In holy St. Edmond’s town.
He goeth to sing the burial chaunt,
And to lay the wandering sprite,
Whose shadowy, restless form doth haunt,
The Abbey’s drear aisle this night.
It saith it will not its wailing cease,
‘Till that holy man come near,
‘Till he pour o’er its grave the prayer of peace,
And sprinkle the hallowed tear.
The Canon’s horse is stout and strong
The road is plain and fair,
But the Canon slowly wends along,
And his brow is gloomed with care.
Who is it thus late at the Abbey-gate?
Sullen echoes the portal bell,
It sounds like the whispering voice of fate,
It sounds like a funeral knell.
The Canon his faltering knee thrice bowed,
And his frame was convulsed with fear,
When a voice was heard distinct and loud,
‘Prepare! for thy hour is near.’
He crosses his breast, he mutters a prayer,
To Heaven he lifts his eye,
He heeds not the Abbot’s gazing stare,
Nor the dark Monks who murmured by.
Bare-headed he worships the sculptured saints
That frown on the sacred walls,
His face it grows pale,—he trembles, he faints,
At the Abbot’s feet he falls.
And straight the father’s robe he kissed,
Who cried, ‘Grace dwells with thee,
The spirit will fade like the morning mist,
At your benedicite.
‘Now haste within! the board is spread,
Keen blows the air, and cold,
The spectre sleeps in its earthy bed,
‘Till St. Edmond’s bell hath tolled,—
‘Yet rest your wearied limbs to-night,
You’ve journeyed many a mile,
To-morrow lay the wailing sprite,
That shrieks in the moonlight aisle.
‘Oh! faint are my limbs and my bosom is cold,
Yet to-night must the sprite be laid,
Yet to-night when the hour of horror’s told,
Must I meet the wandering shade.
‘Nor food, nor rest may now delay,—
For hark! the echoing pile,
A bell loud shakes!—Oh haste away,
O lead to the haunted aisle.’
The torches slowly move before,
The cross is raised on high,
A smile of peace the Canon wore,
But horror dimmed his eye—
And now they climb the footworn stair,
The chapel gates unclose,
Now each breathed low a fervent prayer,
And fear each bosom froze—
Now paused awhile the doubtful band
And viewed the solemn scene,—
Full dark the clustered columns stand,
The moon gleams pale between—
‘Say father, say, what cloisters’ gloom
Conceals the unquiet shade,
Within what dark unhallowed tomb,
The corse unblessed was laid.’
‘Through yonder drear aisle alone it walks,
And murmurs a mournful plaint,
Of thee! Black Canon, it wildly talks,
And call on thy patron saint—
The pilgrim this night with wondering eyes,
As he prayed at St. Edmond’s shrine,
From a black marble tomb hath seen it rise,
And under yon arch recline.’—
‘Oh! say upon that black marble tomb,
What memorial sad appears.’—
‘Undistinguished it lies in the chancel’s gloom,
No memorial sad it bears’—
The Canon his paternoster reads,
His rosary hung by his side,
Now swift to the chancel doors he leads,
And untouched they open wide,
Resistless, strange sounds his steps impel,
To approach to the black marble tomb,
‘Oh! enter, Black Canon,’ a whisper fell,
‘Oh! enter, thy hour is come.’
He paused, told his beads, and the threshold passed.
Oh! horror, the chancel doors close,
A loud yell was borne on the rising blast,
And a deep, dying groan arose.
The Monks in amazement shuddering stand,
They burst through the chancel’s gloom,
From St. Edmond’s shrine, lo! a skeleton’s hand,
Points to the black marble tomb.
Lo! deeply engraved, an inscription blood red,
In characters fresh and clear—
‘The guilty Black Canon of Elmham’s dead,
And his wife lies buried here!’
In Elmham’s tower he wedded a Nun,
To St. Edmond’s his bride he bore,
On this eve her noviciate here was begun,
And a Monk’s gray weeds she wore;—
O! deep was her conscience dyed with guilt,
Remorse she full oft revealed,
Her blood by the ruthless Black Canon was spilt,
And in death her lips he sealed;
Her spirit to penance this night was doomed,
‘Till the Canon atoned the deed,
Here together they now shall rest entombed,
‘Till their bodies from dust are freed—
Hark! a loud peal of thunder shakes the roof,
Round the altar bright lightnings play,
Speechless with horror the Monks stand aloof,
And the storm dies sudden away—
The inscription was gone! a cross on the ground,
And a rosary shone through the gloom,
But never again was the Canon there found,
Or the Ghost on the black marble tomb.
Its blast wanders mournfully over the hill,
The thunder’s wild voice rattles madly above,
You will not then, cannot then, leave me my love.—’
I must dearest Agnes, the night is far gone—
I must wander this evening to Strasburg alone,
I must seek the drear tomb of my ancestors’ bones,
And must dig their remains from beneath the cold stones.
‘For the spirit of Conrad there meets me this night,
And we quit not the tomb ‘till dawn of the light,
And Conrad’s been dead just a month and a day!
So farewell dearest Agnes for I must away,—
‘He bid me bring with me what most I held dear,
Or a month from that time should I lie on my bier,
And I’d sooner resign this false fluttering breath,
Than my Agnes should dread either danger or death,
‘And I love you to madness my Agnes I love,
My constant affection this night will I prove,
This night will I go to the sepulchre’s jaw
Alone will I glut its all conquering maw’—
‘No! no loved Adolphus thy Agnes will share,
In the tomb all the dangers that wait for you there,
I fear not the spirit,—I fear not the grave,
My dearest Adolphus I’d perish to save’—
‘Nay seek not to say that thy love shall not go,
But spare me those ages of horror and woe,
For I swear to thee here that I’ll perish ere day,
If you go unattended by Agnes away’—
The night it was bleak the fierce storm raged around,
The lightning’s blue fire-light flashed on the ground,
Strange forms seemed to flit,—and howl tidings of fate,
As Agnes advanced to the sepulchre gate.—
The youth struck the portal,—the echoing sound
Was fearfully rolled midst the tombstones around,
The blue lightning gleamed o’er the dark chapel spire,
And tinged were the storm clouds with sulphurous fire.
Still they gazed on the tombstone where Conrad reclined,
Yet they shrank at the cold chilling blast of the wind,
When a strange silver brilliance pervaded the scene,
And a figure advanced—tall in form—fierce in mien.
A mantle encircled his shadowy form,
As light as a gossamer borne on the storm,
Celestial terror sat throned in his gaze,
Like the midnight pestiferous meteor’s blaze.—
Thy father, Adolphus! was false, false as hell,
And Conrad has cause to remember it well,
He ruined my Mother, despised me his son,
I quitted the world ere my vengeance was done.
I was nearly expiring—’twas close of the day,—
A demon advanced to the bed where I lay,
He gave me the power from whence I was hurled,
To return to revenge, to return to the world,—
Now Adolphus I’ll seize thy best loved in my arms,
I’ll drag her to Hades all blooming in charms,
On the black whirlwind’s thundering pinion I’ll ride,
And fierce yelling fiends shall exult o’er thy bride—
He spoke, and extending his ghastly arms wide,
Majestic advanced with a swift noiseless stride,
He clasped the fair Agnes—he raised her on high,
And cleaving the roof sped his way to the sky—
All was now silent,—and over the tomb,
Thicker, deeper, was swiftly extended a gloom,
Adolphus in horror sank down on the stone,
And his fleeting soul fled with a harrowing groan.
One glimmering lamp was expiring and low,—
Around the dark tide of the tempest was swelling,
Along the wild mountains night-ravens were yelling,
They bodingly presaged destruction and woe!
‘Twas then that I started, the wild storm was howling,
Nought was seen, save the lightning that danced on the sky,
Above me the crash of the thunder was rolling,
And low, chilling murmurs the blast wafted by.—
My heart sank within me, unheeded the jar
Of the battling clouds on the mountain-tops broke,
Unheeded the thunder-peal crashed in mine ear,
This heart hard as iron was stranger to fear,
But conscience in low noiseless whispering spoke.
‘Twas then that her form on the whirlwind uprearing,
The dark ghost of the murdered Victoria strode,
Her right hand a blood reeking dagger was bearing,
She swiftly advanced to my lonesome abode.—
I wildly then called on the tempest to bear me!
Ghosts of the dead! have I not heard your yelling
Rise on the night-rolling breath of the blast,
When o’er the dark aether the tempest is swelling,
And on eddying whirlwind the thunder-peal passed?
For oft have I stood on the dark height of Jura,
Which frowns on the valley that opens beneath;
Oft have I braved the chill night-tempest’s fury,
Whilst around me, I thought, echoed murmurs of death.
And now, whilst the winds of the mountain are howling,
O father! thy voice seems to strike on mine ear;
In air whilst the tide of the night-storm is rolling,
It breaks on the pause of the elements’ jar.
On the wing of the whirlwind which roars o’er the mountain
Perhaps rides the ghost of my sire who is dead:
On the mist of the tempest which hangs o’er the fountain,
Whilst a wreath of dark vapour encircles his head.
How stern are the woes of the desolate mourner,
As he bends in still grief o’er the hallowed bier,
As enanguished he turns from the laugh of the scorner,
And drops, to Perfection’s remembrance, a tear;
When floods of despair down his pale cheek are streaming,
When no blissful hope on his bosom is beaming,
Or, if lulled for awhile, soon he starts from his dreaming,
And finds torn the soft ties to affection so dear.
Ah! when shall day dawn on the night of the grave,
Or summer succeed to the winter of death?
Rest awhile, hapless victim, and Heaven will save
The spirit, that faded away with the breath.
Eternity points in its amaranth bower,
Where no clouds of fate o’er the sweet prospect lower,
Unspeakable pleasure, of goodness the dower,
When woe fades away like the mist of the heath.
Ah! faint are her limbs, and her footstep is weary,
Yet far must the desolate wanderer roam;
Though the tempest is stern, and the mountain is dreary,
She must quit at deep midnight her pitiless home.
I see her swift foot dash the dew from the whortle,
As she rapidly hastes to the green grove of myrtle;
And I hear, as she wraps round her figure the kirtle,
‘Stay thy boat on the lake,—dearest Henry, I come.’
High swelled in her bosom the throb of affection,
As lightly her form bounded over the lea,
And arose in her mind every dear recollection;
‘I come, dearest Henry, and wait but for thee.’
How sad, when dear hope every sorrow is soothing,
When sympathy’s swell the soft bosom is moving,
And the mind the mild joys of affection is proving,
Is the stern voice of fate that bids happiness flee!
Oh! dark lowered the clouds on that horrible eve,
And the moon dimly gleamed through the tempested air;
Oh! how could fond visions such softness deceive?
Oh! how could false hope rend, a bosom so fair?
Thy love’s pallid corse the wild surges are laving,
O’er his form the fierce swell of the tempest is raving;
But, fear not, parting spirit; thy goodness is saving,
In eternity’s bowers, a seat for thee there.
Death, fate, and ruin, on a bleeding world.
See! on yon heath what countless victims lie,
Hark! what loud shrieks ascend through yonder sky;
Tell then the cause, ‘tis sure the avenger’s rage
Has swept these myriads from life’s crowded stage:
Hark to that groan, an anguished hero dies,
He shudders in death’s latest agonies;
Yet does a fleeting hectic flush his cheek,
Yet does his parting breath essay to speak—
‘Oh God! my wife, my children—Monarch thou
For whose support this fainting frame lies low;
For whose support in distant lands I bleed,
Let his friends’ welfare be the warrior’s meed.
He hears me not—ah! no—kings cannot hear,
For passion’s voice has dulled their listless ear.
To thee, then, mighty God, I lift my moan,
Thou wilt not scorn a suppliant’s anguished groan.
Oh! now I die—but still is death’s fierce pain—
God hears my prayer—we meet, we meet again.’
He spake, reclined him on death’s bloody bed,
And with a parting groan his spirit fled.
Oppressors of mankind to YOU we owe
The baleful streams from whence these miseries flow;
For you how many a mother weeps her son,
Snatched from life’s course ere half his race was run!
For you how many a widow drops a tear,
In silent anguish, on her husband’s bier!
‘Is it then Thine, Almighty Power,’ she cries,
‘Whence tears of endless sorrow dim these eyes?
Is this the system which Thy powerful sway,
Which else in shapeless chaos sleeping lay,
Formed and approved?—it cannot be—but oh!
Forgive me, Heaven, my brain is warped by woe.’
‘Tis not—He never bade the war-note swell,
He never triumphed in the work of hell—
Monarchs of earth! thine is the baleful deed,
Thine are the crimes for which thy subjects bleed.
Ah! when will come the sacred fated time,
When man unsullied by his leaders’ crime,
Despising wealth, ambition, pomp, and pride,
Will stretch him fearless by his foe-men’s side?
Ah! when will come the time, when o’er the plain
No more shall death and desolation reign?
When will the sun smile on the bloodless field,
And the stern warrior’s arm the sickle wield?
Not whilst some King, in cold ambition’s dreams,
Plans for the field of death his plodding schemes;
Not whilst for private pique the public fall,
And one frail mortal’s mandate governs all.
Swelled with command and mad with dizzying sway;
Who sees unmoved his myriads fade away.
Careless who lives or dies—so that he gains
Some trivial point for which he took the pains.
What then are Kings?—I see the trembling crowd,
I hear their fulsome clamours echoed loud;
Their stern oppressor pleased appears awhile,
But April’s sunshine is a Monarch’s smile—
Kings are but dust—the last eventful day
Will level all and make them lose their sway;
Will dash the sceptre from the Monarch’s hand,
And from the warrior’s grasp wrest the ensanguined brand.
Oh! Peace, soft Peace, art thou for ever gone,
Is thy fair form indeed for ever flown?
And love and concord hast thou swept away,
As if incongruous with thy parted sway?
Alas, I fear thou hast, for none appear.
Now o’er the palsied earth stalks giant Fear,
With War, and Woe, and Terror, in his train;—
List’ning he pauses on the embattled plain,
Then speeding swiftly o’er the ensanguined heath,
Has left the frightful work to Hell and Death.
See! gory Ruin yokes his blood-stained car,
He scents the battle’s carnage from afar;
Hell and Destruction mark his mad career,
He tracks the rapid step of hurrying Fear;
Whilst ruined towns and smoking cities tell,
That thy work, Monarch, is the work of Hell.
‘It is thy work!’ I hear a voice repeat,
Shakes the broad basis of thy bloodstained seat;
And at the orphan’s sigh, the widow’s moan,
Totters the fabric of thy guilt-stained throne—
‘It is thy work, O Monarch;’ now the sound
Fainter and fainter, yet is borne around,
Yet to enthusiast ears the murmurs tell
That Heaven, indignant at the work of Hell,
Will soon the cause, the hated cause remove,
Which tears from earth peace, innocence, and love.
In cloudless radiance, Queen of silver night?
Can you, ye flow’rets, spread your perfumed balm
Mid pearly gems of dew that shine so bright?
And you wild winds, thus can you sleep so still
Whilst throbs the tempest of my breast so high?
Can the fierce night-fiends rest on yonder hill,
And, in the eternal mansions of the sky,
Can the directors of the storm in powerless silence lie?
Hark! I hear music on the zephyr’s wing,
Louder it floats along the unruffled sky;
Some fairy sure has touched the viewless string—
Now faint in distant air the murmurs die.
Awhile it stills the tide of agony.
Now—now it loftier swells—again stern woe
Arises with the awakening melody.
Again fierce torments, such as demons know,
In bitterer, feller tide, on this torn bosom flow.
Arise ye sightless spirits of the storm,
Ye unseen minstrels of the aereal song,
Pour the fierce tide around this lonely form,
And roll the tempest’s wildest swell along.
Dart the red lightning, wing the forked flash,
Pour from thy cloud-formed hills the thunder’s roar;
Arouse the whirlwind—and let ocean dash
In fiercest tumult on the rocking shore,—
Destroy this life or let earth’s fabric be no more.
Yes! every tie that links me here is dead;
Mysterious Fate, thy mandate I obey,
Since hope and peace, and joy, for aye are fled,
I come, terrific power, I come away.
Then o’er this ruined soul let spirits of Hell,
In triumph, laughing wildly, mock its pain;
And though with direst pangs mine heart-strings swell,
I’ll echo back their deadly yells again,
Cursing the power that ne’er made aught in vain.
As it sate on the ruins of time that is past?
Hark! it floats on the fitful blast of the wind,
And breathes to the pale moon a funeral sigh.
It is the Benshie’s moan on the storm,
Or a shivering fiend that thirsting for sin,
Seeks murder and guilt when virtue sleeps,
Winged with the power of some ruthless king,
And sweeps o’er the breast of the prostrate plain.
It was not a fiend from the regions of Hell
That poured its low moan on the stillness of night:
It was not a ghost of the guilty dead,
Nor a yelling vampire reeking with gore;
But aye at the close of seven years’ end,
That voice is mixed with the swell of the storm,
And aye at the close of seven years’ end,
A shapeless shadow that sleeps on the hill
Awakens and floats on the mist of the heath.
It is not the shade of a murdered man,
Who has rushed uncalled to the throne of his God,
And howls in the pause of the eddying storm.
This voice is low, cold, hollow, and chill,
‘Tis not heard by the ear, but is felt in the soul.
‘Tis more frightful far than the death-daemon’s scream,
Or the laughter of fiends when they howl o’er the corpse
Of a man who has sold his soul to Hell.
It tells the approach of a mystic form,
A white courser bears the shadowy sprite;
More thin they are than the mists of the mountain,
When the clear moonlight sleeps on the waveless lake.
More pale HIS cheek than the snows of Nithona,
When winter rides on the northern blast,
And howls in the midst of the leafless wood.
Yet when the fierce swell of the tempest is raving,
And the whirlwinds howl in the caves of Inisfallen,
Still secure mid the wildest war of the sky,
The phantom courser scours the waste,
And his rider howls in the thunder’s roar.
O’er him the fierce bolts of avenging Heaven
Pause, as in fear, to strike his head.
The meteors of midnight recoil from his figure,
Yet the ‘wildered peasant, that oft passes by,
With wonder beholds the blue flash through his form:
And his voice, though faint as the sighs of the dead,
The startled passenger shudders to hear,
More distinct than the thunder’s wildest roar.
Then does the dragon, who, chained in the caverns
To eternity, curses the champion of Erin,
Moan and yell loud at the lone hour of midnight,
And twine his vast wreaths round the forms of the daemons;
Then in agony roll his death-swimming eyeballs,
Though ‘wildered by death, yet never to die!
Then he shakes from his skeleton folds the nightmares,
Who, shrieking in agony, seek the couch
Of some fevered wretch who courts sleep in vain;
Then the tombless ghosts of the guilty dead
In horror pause on the fitful gale.
They float on the swell of the eddying tempest,
And scared seek the caves of gigantic…
Where their thin forms pour unearthly sounds
On the blast that sweets the breast of the lake,
And mingles its swell with the moonlight air.
Forever, ever, lost to me?
Must this poor bosom beat alone,
Or beat at all, if not for thee?
Ah! why was love to mortals given,
To lift them to the height of Heaven,
Or dash them to the depths of Hell?
Yet I do not reproach thee, dear!
Ah, no! the agonies that swell
This panting breast, this frenzied brain,
Might wake my —’s slumb’ring tear.
Oh! Heaven is witness I did love,
And Heaven does know I love thee still,
Does know the fruitless sick’ning thrill,
When reason’s judgement vainly strove
To blot thee from my memory;
But which might never, never be.
Oh! I appeal to that blest day
When passion’s wildest ecstasy
Was coldness to the joys I knew,
When every sorrow sunk away.
Oh! I had never lived before,
But now those blisses are no more.
And now I cease to live again,
I do not blame thee, love; ah, no!
The breast that feels this anguished woe.
Throbs for thy happiness alone.
Two years of speechless bliss are gone,
I thank thee, dearest, for the dream.
‘Tis night—what faint and distant scream
Comes on the wild and fitful blast?
It moans for pleasures that are past,
It moans for days that are gone by.
Oh! lagging hours, how slow you fly!
I see a dark and lengthened vale,
The black view closes with the tomb;
But darker is the lowering gloom
That shades the intervening dale.
In visioned slumber for awhile
I seem again to share thy smile,
I seem to hang upon thy tone.
Again you say, ‘Confide in me,
For I am thine, and thine alone,
And thine must ever, ever be.’
But oh! awak’ning still anew,
Athwart my enanguished senses flew
A fiercer, deadlier agony!
Dares the lama, most fleet of the sons of the wind,
The lion to rouse from his skull-covered lair?
When the tiger approaches can the fast-fleeting hind
Repose trust in his footsteps of air?
No! Abandoned he sinks in a trance of despair,
The monster transfixes his prey,
On the sand flows his life-blood away;
Whilst India’s rocks to his death-yells reply,
Protracting the horrible harmony.
Yet the fowl of the desert, when danger encroaches,
Dares fearless to perish defending her brood,
Though the fiercest of cloud-piercing tyrants approaches
Thirsting—ay, thirsting for blood;
And demands, like mankind, his brother for food;
Yet more lenient, more gentle than they;
For hunger, not glory, the prey
Must perish. Revenge does not howl in the dead.
Nor ambition with fame crown the murderer’s head.
Though weak as the lama that bounds on the mountains,
And endued not with fast-fleeting footsteps of air,
Yet, yet will I draw from the purest of fountains,
Though a fiercer than tiger is there.
Though, more dreadful than death, it scatters despair,
Though its shadow eclipses the day,
And the darkness of deepest dismay
Spreads the influence of soul-chilling terror around,
And lowers on the corpses, that rot on the ground.
They came to the fountain to draw from its stream
Waves too pure, too celestial, for mortals to see;
They bathed for awhile in its silvery beam,
Then perished, and perished like me.
For in vain from the grasp of the Bigot I flee;
The most tenderly loved of my soul
Are slaves to his hated control.
He pursues me, he blasts me! ‘Tis in vain that I fly: –
What remains, but to curse him,—to curse him and die?
Oh! take the pure gem to where southerly breezes,
Waft repose to some bosom as faithful as fair,
In which the warm current of love never freezes,
As it rises unmingled with selfishness there,
Which, untainted by pride, unpolluted by care,
Might dissolve the dim icedrop, might bid it arise,
Too pure for these regions, to gleam in the skies.
Or where the stern warrior, his country defending,
Dares fearless the dark-rolling battle to pour,
Or o’er the fell corpse of a dread tyrant bending,
Where patriotism red with his guilt-reeking gore
Plants Liberty’s flag on the slave-peopled shore,
With victory’s cry, with the shout of the free,
Let it fly, taintless Spirit, to mingle with thee.
For I found the pure gem, when the daybeam returning,
Ineffectual gleams on the snow-covered plain,
When to others the wished-for arrival of morning
Brings relief to long visions of soul-racking pain;
But regret is an insult—to grieve is in vain:
And why should we grieve that a spirit so fair
Seeks Heaven to mix with its own kindred there?
But still ‘twas some Spirit of kindness descending
To share in the load of mortality’s woe,
Who over thy lowly-built sepulchre bending
Bade sympathy’s tenderest teardrop to flow.
Not for THEE soft compassion celestials did know,
But if ANGELS can weep, sure MAN may repine,
May weep in mute grief o’er thy low-laid shrine.
And did I then say, for the altar of glory,
That the earliest, the loveliest of flowers I’d entwine,
Though with millions of blood-reeking victims ‘twas gory,
Though the tears of the widow polluted its shrine,
Though around it the orphans, the fatherless pine?
Oh! Fame, all thy glories I’d yield for a tear
To shed on the grave of a heart so sincere.