« PreviousContinue »
WHERE dwells she now? That life of joy
That seem'd as Time could ne'er destroy,
Nor frail infectious sense alloy,
Its self-derived and self-sufficing gladness?
Abides she in the bounds of space,
Or like a thought, a moment's grace,
Is she escaped from time and place,
The dull arithmetic of prison'd sadness ?
May she behold this spot of earth,
This human home, that saw her birth
Her baby tears, her infant mirth,
The first quick stirrings of her human mind?
May she return to watch the flowers
She planted last in fairy bowers ?-
They freshen yet with summer showers,
And gambol with the frolic summer wind.
That lovely form, that face so bright,
That changeful image of delight,
May it no more to waking sight,
Or spiritual ken, in very truth appear?
That visible shape, that kind warm glow-
That all that Heaven vouchsafed to shew-
'Twas all our sense could know, Of her we loved, whom yet we hold so dear.
The world hath lost the antique faith,
In shade and spectre-warning wraith,
That wander'd forth to blast, and scathe
Poor earth-clogg'd, dark humanity.
No more the mystic craft of hell,
In cavern mirk, with impious spell,
Evokes the naked souls that dwell,
In uncreated night's inanity.
'Tis well that creed is out of date,
And men have found, at last, though late,
That loathing fear, and fearful hate,
And rankling vengeance, all are cruel liars ;
And all the doctrine that they teach
Of ghosts that roam when owlets screetch,
Is but the false, and fatal speech,
Of guilty terrors, or of worse desires.
But is there not a charm in love,
To call thy spirit from above ?
Oh-had I pinions like a dove,
Were I like thee, a pure enfranchised soul,
Then might I see thee as thou art,
Receive thee in my inmost heart,
But can it be? She has no part,
In all she loved beneath the steadfast pole.
AH-well it is—since she is gone,
She can return no more,
To see the face so dim and wan,
That was so warm before..
Familiar things would all seem strange,
And pleasure past be woe;
A record sad of ceaseless change,
Is all the world below.
The very hills, they are not now,
The hills which once they were, They change as we are changed, or how
Could we the burden bear?
Ye deem the dead are ashy pale,
Cold denizens of gloom-
But what are ye, who live to wail,
And weep upon their tomb?
She passed away, like morning dew,
Before the sun was high,
So brief her time, she scarcely knew,
The meaning of a sigh.
As round the rose its soft perfume,
Sweet love around her floated ; Admired she grew—while mortal doom
Crept on, unfear’d, unnoted.
Love was her guardian Angel here,
But love to death resign’d her,
Tho' love was kind, why should we fear,
But holy death is kinder ?
What is the life of man? From first to last,
Its only substance, the unbeing past !
The infant smiling in its sleep must dream
Of something past, before the vexing beam
Of daylight smote the unaccustom'd eye,
Ere the faint mother heard its first faint cry;
Lull’d in its rocking nest, it seeks in vain,
For what has been, and ne'er can be again.
The child, through every maze of wakening lore,
Hunts the huge shadow of what was before,
Sees his old toys in misty phantoms glide,
'Twixt hope and dim oblivion magnified ;
As oft on misty hills huge spectres run,
And stalk gigantic from the setting sun-
Still urging onward to the world unseen,
Yet wishing, hoping nought, but what has been.
But what has been ? But how, and when, and where?
Was there a time, when, wandering in the air,
The living spark existed, yet unnam’d,
Unfixt, unqualitied, unlaw'd, unclaim'd,
A drop of being, in the infinite sea,
Whose only duty, essence, was to be ?
Or must we seek it, where all things we find,
In the sole purpose of creative mind-