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THOMAS BUCHANAN READ,
ON HIS DEPARTURE FROM AMERICA FOR ITALY.
Now, fare thee well! Bard of my own backwoods !
New Minnesinger of the Occident!
A Milky Way on towards the Orient.
His unseen hands against thy bellied sail; Thy ship the desert ocean's wilderness
Sweep, like a white cloud o'er a deep blue vale.
The dark clue of life’s mingled cord
Circling, like fairy flowered rings the sward.
I've seen thee touch, as with a wand of fire.
The lifeless canvas—till a living soul Thou didst from out the shades inspire:
Like crimson horsemen round the midnight pole. But rarer yet, Agrippa's glass thou hast,
Where Nature's panorama is displayed ; The poet's shell, where, ere the vision's past,
'Tis burnt in words of golden light and shade!
Friend of my heart! I do confess me weak,
And own thy praise hath made my pure muse proud, As though an albatross should, in his beak,
Bear from the wave a sea-weed to the cloud ! To me thou leav’st a picture of thy face
Though broke, upon my heart it shall be whole,
Those open windows of thy sunny soul !
Shoot back an arrow from thy heart to mine
A thought as brief as bead upon the wine ? Be it when twilight on the Arno's wave,
With purple pinions deepening into gloom, Lulls all to sleep and shadowed silence, save
Night's sweet flowers bursting from daylight's tomb! At such an hour, then mark you some one star
That seems to hover o'er our blessed West. Be sure, my friend, I've fixed one East afar,
And he beneath, in silence, I have blessed.
ANGEL of my saddest hours,
Unto thee I weave my lay,
In a gloomy, darksome day,
Cheerfulness and heart's delight-
Like the moon which comes at night.
Ever in my heart's lone sadness,
the spectre gaunt-
And 'round thee night grew radiant!
Then I almost seemed to listen
To the voice of one above-Wings seemed on thee, which did glisten
In the hallowed light of love.
As in May, the breezes warming,
From dark earth bring blossoms rife ; So didst thou, with gayness charming,
Raise from death, the rose of life; Staying Time, with scythe uplifted,
Poised to strike life's flower, dead, And from earth, by storm blast drifted,
Rear anew its drooping head.
Angel of my saddest hours,
Like the Autumn birds which stay In the dropping leafy bowers,
When the Summer fleets away, Gladdening with their songs the gayest,
All the thick embrownéd wood, And amid eve's shadows greyest,
Lighting up its solitude.
Thou, like music heard in sorrow,
Luring man from dreams of woe, Seemest from the skies to borrow
Solace for the world below;
Wooing from grief's mournful folly,
With a tender touching kiss, Till thy cheek, pale, Melancholy,
Wears a rosy glow of bliss.
Dearest angel! thou hast lighted
With thy lamp this soul of mine, And into my heart benighted,
Rays from thy gold pinions shine, Till like poor Icelandic lover,
Where the North Light paints the snows, I see the rainbows o'er me hover,
And forget all former woes.