Page images
[blocks in formation]

Calm, on its leaf-strewn bier.
Unlike a gift of nature to decay,
Too rose-like still, too beautiful, too dear,
The child at rest before its inother lay ;

E'en so to pass away,
With its bright smile Elysiurn! wbat wert thou,
To her, who wept o'er that young slumberer's brow?

Thou hadst no home, green land !
For the fair creature from her bosom gone,
With life's first flowers just opening in her hand,
And all the lovely thoughts and dreams unknown,
Which in its clear


Like the spring's wakening but that light was past-
-Where went the dew-drop, swept before the blast?

Not where thy soft winds play'd,
Not where thy waters lay in glassy sleep!
Fade, with thy bowers, thou land of visions, fade!
From thee no voice came o'er the gloomy deep,

And bade man cease to weep!
Fade, with the amaranth-plain, the myrtle-grove,
Which could not yield one hope to sorrowing love!

For the most loved are they,
Of whom Fame speaks not with her clarion-voice
In regal balls the shades o'erhang their way,
The vale, with its deep fountains, is their choice,

And gentle hearts rejoice
Around their steps till silently they die.
As a stream shrinks from summer's burning eye.

And the world knows not then,
Not then, nor ever, what pare thoughts are fled !
Yet these are they, that on the souls of men
Come back, when night her folding veil hath spread,

The long-remember'd dead!
But not with thee might aught save glory dwell-
--Fade, fade away, thou shore of Asphodel!





Debout, couronné de fleurs, les bras élevés et posés sur la tête, et le dos appuyé contre un pin, ce génie semble exprimer par son attitude le repos des morts. Les bas-reliefs des tombeaux offrent souvent des figures semblables."

Visconti, Description des Antiques du Musée Royal.

Thou should'st be look'd on when the starlight falls Through the blue stillness of the summer-air, Not by the torch-fire wavering on the walls ; It has too fitful and too wild a glare! And thou thy rest, the soft, the lovely, seems To ask light steps, that will not break its dreams. Flowers are upon thy brow; for so the dead Were crown'd of old, with pale spring-flowers like these : Sleep on thine eye hath sunk; yet softly shed, As from the wing of some faint southern breeze: And the pine-boughs o'ershadow thee with gloom Which of the grove seems breathing—not the tomb. They fear'd not death, whose calm and gracious thought Of the last hour, hath settled thus in thee! They who thy wreath of pallid roses wrought, And laid thy head against the forest-tree, As that of one, by music's dreamy close, On the wood-violets lull'd to deep repose. They fear'd not death!-yet who shall say his touch Thus lightly falls on gentle things and fair ? Doth he bestow, or will he leave so much Of tender beauty as thy features wear! Thou sleeper of the bower! on whose young eyes So still a night, a night of summer, lies! Had they seen aught like thee ?–Did some fair boy Thus, with his graceful hair, before them rest ? -His graceful hair, no inore to wave in joy, But drooping as with heavy dews oppressid ! And his eye veil'd so softly by its fringe, And his lip faded to the white-rose tinge?



Oh! happy, if to them the one dread hour
Made known its lessons from a brow like thine!
If all their knowledge of the spoiler's power
Came by a look, so tranquilly divine !
Let bim, who thus hath seen the lovely part,
Hold well that image to his thoughtful heart!
But thou, fair slumberer! was there less of wo,
Or love, or terror, in the days of old,
That men pour'd out their gladdening spirit's flow,
Like sunshine, on the desolate and cold,
And gave thy semblance to the shadowy king
Who for deep souls had then a deeper sting?
In the dark bosom of the earth they laid
Far more than we--for loftier faith is ours !
Their gems were lost in ashes yet they made
The grave a place of beauty and of flowers,
With fragrant wreaths, and summer boughs array'd,
And lovely sculpture gleaming through the shade.
Is it for us a darker gloom to shed
O'er its dim precincts?-do we not intrust
But for a time its chambers with our dead,
And strew immortal seed upon the dust?
-Why should we dwell on that which lies beneath,
When living light bath touch'd the brow of death?"


No bitter tears for thee be shed,
Blossom of being ! seen and gone!
With flowers alone we strew thy bed,

O blest departed one!
Whose all of life, a rosy ray,
Blush'd into dawn, and pass'd away.
Yes! thou art fied, ere guilt had power
To stain thy cherub soul and form,
Closed is the soft ephemeral flower,

That never felt a storm!
The sunbeam's smile, the zephyr's breath,
All that it knew from birth to death.



Thou wert so like a form of light,
That Heaven benignly call'd thee hence,
Ere yet the world could breathe one blight

O'er thy sweet innocence :
And thou, that brighter home to bless,
Art pass'd, with all thy loveliness!
Oh! hadst thou still on earth remain'd,
Vision of beauty! fair, as brief!
How soon thy brightness had been stain'd

With passion or with grief!
Now not a sullying breath can rise,
To dim thy glory in the skies.
We rear no marble o'er thy tomb,
No sculptur'd image there shall mourn;
Ah! fitter far the vernal bloom

Such dwelling to adorn.
Fragrance, and lowers, and dews must be
The only emblems meet for thee.
Thy grave shall be a blessed shrine,
Adoro'd with Nature's brightest wreath,
Each glowing season shall combine

Its incense there to breathe ;
And oft, upon the midnight air,
Shall view less harps be murmuring theres
And oh! sometimes in visions blest,
Sweet spirit! visit our repose,
And bear from thine own world of rest,

Some balm for human woes !
What form more lovely could be given
Than thine, to messenger of Heaven?


Son of the ocean isle !

Where sleep your mighty dead?
Show me what high and stately pile

Is rear'd o'er Glory's bed.
Go, stranger ! track the deep,

Free, free, the white sail spread !
Wave may not foam, nor wild wind sweep;

Where rest not England's dead.



On Egypt's burning plains,

By the pyramid o'ersway'd,
With fearful power the noon-day reigns,

And the palm-trees yield no shade.
But let the angry sún

From heaven look fiercely red,
Unfelt by those whose task is done!

There sluniber England's dead.
The hurricane hath might

Along the Indian shore,
And far, by Ganges' banks at night,

Is heard the tiger's roar.
But let the sound roll on!

It hath no tone of dread
For those that from their toils are gone ;

- There slumber England's dead.
Loud rush the torrent-floods

The western wilds among,
And free, in green Columbia's woods,

The hunter's bow is strung.
But let the floods rush on !

Let the arrow's flight be sped!
Why should they reck whose task is done ?

There slumber England's dead !
The mountain-storms rise high

In the snowy Pyrenees,
And toss the pine-boughs through the sky,

Like rose-leaves on the breeze.
But let the storm rage on!

Let the forest-wreaths be shed!
For the Roncesvalles' field is won,

There slumber England's dead.
On the frozen deep's repose

'Tis a dark and dreadful hour, When round the ship the ice fields close,

To chain her with their power.
But let the ice drift on!

Let the cold-blue desert spread!
Their course with mast and dag is done,

There slumber England's dead.

« PreviousContinue »