Part 7 out of 33
This gentle bird with kind intent
To lead my steps, where I should meet--
I knew not what, but something sweet.
And--bless the little pilot dove!
He had indeed been sent by Love,
To guide me to a scene so dear
As fate allows but seldom here;
One of those rare and brilliant hours.
That, like the aloe's lingering flowers,
May blossom to the eye of man
But once in all his weary span.
Just where the margin's opening shade
A vista from the waters made,
My bird reposed his silver plume
Upon a rich banana's bloom.
Oh vision bright! oh spirit fair!
What spell, what magic raised her there?
'Twas Nea! slumbering calm and mild,
And bloomy as the dimpled child,
Whose spirit in elysium keeps
Its playful sabbath, while he sleeps.
The broad banana's green embrace
Hung shadowy round each tranquil grace;
One little beam alone could win
The leaves to let it wander in.
And, stealing over all her charms,
From lip to cheek, from neck to arms,
New lustre to each beauty lent,--
Itself all trembling as it went!
Dark lay her eyelid's jetty fringe
Upon that cheek whose roseate tinge
Mixt with its shade, like evening's light
Just touching on the verge of night.
Her eyes, though thus in slumber hid,
Seemed glowing through the ivory lid,
And, as I thought, a lustre threw
Upon her lip's reflecting dew,--
Such as a night-lamp, left to shine
Alone on some secluded shrine,
May shed upon the votive wreath,
Which pious hands have hung beneath.
Was ever vision half so sweet!
Think, think how quick my heart-pulse beat,
As o'er the rustling bank I stole;--
Oh! ye, that know the lover's soul,
It is for you alone to guess,
That moment's trembling happiness.
 The seaside or mangrove grape, a native of the West Indies.
A STUDY FROM THE ANTIQUE.
Behold, my love, the curious gem
Within this simple ring of gold;
'Tis hallow'd by the touch of them
Who lived in classic hours of old.
Some fair Athenian girl, perhaps,
Upon her hand this gem displayed,
Nor thought that time's succeeding lapse
Should see it grace a lovelier maid.
Look, dearest, what a sweet design!
The more we gaze, it charms the more;
Come--closer bring that cheek to mine,
And trace with me its beauties o'er.
Thou seest, it is a simple youth
By some enamored nymph embraced--
Look, as she leans, and say in sooth
Is not that hand most fondly placed?
Upon his curled head behind
It seems in careless play to lie,
Yet presses gently, half inclined
To bring the truant's lip more nigh.
Oh happy maid! Too happy boy!
The one so fond and little loath,
The other yielding slow to joy--
Oh rare, indeed, but blissful both.
Imagine, love, that I am he,
And just as warm as he is chilling;
Imagine, too, that thou art she,
But quite as coy as she is willing:
So may we try the graceful way
In which their gentle arms are twined,
And thus, like her, my hand I lay
Upon thy wreathed locks behind:
And thus I feel thee breathing sweet,
As slow to mine thy head I move;
And thus our lips together meet,
And thus,--and thus,--I kiss thee, love.
* * * * *
There's not a look, a word of thine,
My soul hath e'er forgot;
Thou ne'er hast bid a ringlet shine,
Nor given thy locks one graceful twine
Which I remember not.
There never yet a murmur fell
From that beguiling tongue,
Which did not, with a lingering spell,
Upon thy charmed senses dwell,
Like songs from Eden sung.
Ah! that I could, at once, forget
All, all that haunts me so--
And yet, thou witching girl,--and yet,
To die were sweeter than to let
The loved remembrance go.
No; if this slighted heart must see
Its faithful pulse decay,
Oh let it die, remembering thee,
And, like the burnt aroma, be
Consumed in sweets away.
TO JOSEPH ATKINSON, ESQ.
"The daylight is gone--but, before we depart,
"One cup shall go round to the friend of my heart,
"The kindest, the dearest--oh! judge by the tear
"I now shed while I name him, how kind and how dear."
'Twas thus in the shade of the Calabash-Tree,
With a few, who could feel and remember like me,
The charm that, to sweeten my goblet, I threw
Was a sigh to the past and a blessing on you.
Oh! say, is it thus, in the mirth-bringing hour,
When friends are assembled, when wit, in full flower,
Shoots forth from the lip, under Bacchus's dew,
In blossoms of thought ever springing and new--
Do you sometimes remember, and hallow the brim
Of your cup with a sigh, as you crown it to him
Who is lonely and sad in these valleys so fair,
And would pine in elysium, if friends were not there!
Last night, when we came from the Calabash-Tree,
When my limbs were at rest and my spirit was free,
The glow of the grape and the dreams of the day
Set the magical springs of my fancy in play,
And oh,--such a vision as haunted me then
I would slumber for ages to witness again.
The many I like, and the few I adore,
The friends who were dear and beloved before.
But never till now so beloved and dear,
At the call of my Fancy, surrounded me here;
And soon,--oh, at once, did the light of their smiles
To a paradise brighten this region of isles;
More lucid the wave, as they looked on it, flowed,
And brighter the rose, as they gathered it, glowed.
Not the valleys Heraean (though watered by rills
Of the pearliest flow, from those pastoral hills.
Where the Song of the Shepherd, primeval and wild,
Was taught to the nymphs by their mystical child,)
Could boast such a lustre o'er land and o'er wave
As the magic of love to this paradise gave.
Oh magic of love! unembellished by you,
Hath the garden a blush or the landscape a hue?
Or shines there a vista in nature or art,
Like that which Love opes thro' the eye to the heart?
Alas, that a vision so happy should fade!
That, when morning around me in brilliancy played,
The rose and the stream I had thought of at night
Should still be before me, unfadingly bright;
While the friends, who had seemed to hang over the stream,
And to gather the roses, had fled with my dream.
But look, where, all ready, in sailing array,
The bark that's to carry these pages away,
Impatiently flutters her wing to the wind,
And will soon leave these islets of Ariel behind.
What billows, what gales is she fated to prove,
Ere she sleep in the lee of the land that I love!
Yet pleasant the swell of the billows would be,
And the roar of those gales would be music to me.
Not the tranquillest air that the winds ever blew,
Not the sunniest tears of the summer-eve dew,
Were as sweet as the storm, or as bright as the foam
Of the surge, that would hurry your wanderer home.
 Pinkerton has said that "a good history and description of the
Bermudas might afford a pleasing addition to the geographical library;"
but there certainly are not materials for such a work. The island, since
the time of its discovery, has experienced so very few vicissitudes, the
people have been so indolent, and their trade so limited, that there is
but little which the historian could amplify into importance; and, with
respect to the natural productions of the country, the few which the
inhabitants can be induced to cultivate are so common in the West Indies,
that they have been described by every naturalist who has written any
account of those islands.
 Mountains of Sicily, upon which Daphnis, the first Inventor of bucolic
poetry, was nursed by the nymphs.
 A ship, ready to sail for England.
THE STEERMAN'S SONG,
WRITTEN ABOARD THE BOSTON FRIGATE
When freshly blows the northern gale,
And under courses snug we fly;
Or when light breezes swell the sail,
And royals proudly sweep the sky;
'Longside the wheel, unwearied still
I stand, and, as my watchful eye
Doth mark the needle's faithful thrill,
I think of her I love, and cry,
Port, my boy! port.
When calms delay, or breezes blow
Right from the point we wish to steer;
When by the wind close-hauled we go.
And strive in vain the port to near;
I think 'tis thus the fates defer
My bliss with one that's far away,
And while remembrance springs to her,
I watch the sails and sighing say,
Thus, my boy! thus.
But see the wind draws kindly aft,
All hands are up the yards to square,
And now the floating stu'n-sails waft
Our stately ship thro' waves and air.
Oh! then I think that yet for me
Some breeze of fortune thus may spring,
Some breeze to waft me, love, to thee--
And in that hope I smiling sing,
Steady, boy! so.
 I left Bermuda in the Boston about the middle of April, in
company with the Cambrian and Leander, aboard the latter of which was the
Admiral Sir Andrew Mitchell, who divides his year between Halifax and
Bermuda, and is the very soul of society and good-fellowship to both. We
separated in a few days, and the Boston after a short cruise proceeded to
TO THE FIRE-FLY.
At morning, when the earth and sky
Are glowing with the light of spring,
We see thee not, thou humble fly!
Nor think upon thy gleaming wing.
But when the skies have lost their hue,
And sunny lights no longer play,
Oh then we see and bless thee too
For sparkling o'er the dreary way.
Thus let me hope, when lost to me
The lights that now my life illume,
Some milder joys may come, like thee,
To cheer, if not to warm, the gloom!
 The lively and varying illumination, with which these fire-flies light
up the woods at night, gives quite an idea of enchantment.
TO THE LORD VISCOUNT FORBES.
FROM THE CITY OP WASHINGTON.
If former times had never left a trace
Of human frailty in their onward race,
Nor o'er their pathway written, as they ran,
One dark memorial of the crimes of man;
If every age, in new unconscious prime,
Rose, like a phenix, from the fires of time,
To wing its way unguided and alone,
The future smiling and the past unknown;
Then ardent man would to himself be new,
Earth at his foot and heaven within his view:
Well might the novice hope, the sanguine scheme
Of full perfection prompt his daring dream,
Ere cold experience, with her veteran lore,
Could tell him, fools had dreamt as much before.
But, tracing as we do, through age and clime,
The plans of virtue midst the deeds of crime,
The thinking follies and the reasoning rage
Of man, at once the idiot and the sage;
When still we see, through every varying frame
Of arts and polity, his course the same,
And know that ancient fools but died, to make
A space on earth for modern fools to take;
'Tis strange, how quickly we the past forget;
That Wisdom's self should not be tutored yet,
Nor tire of watching for the monstrous birth
Of pure perfection midst the sons of earth!
Oh! nothing but that soul which God has given,
Could lead us thus to look on earth for heaven;
O'er dross without to shed the light within,
And dream of virtue while we see but sin.
Even here, beside the proud Potowmac's stream,
Might sages still pursue the flattering theme
Of days to come, when man shall conquer fate,
Rise o'er the level of his mortal state,
Belie the monuments of frailty past,
And plant perfection in this world at last!
"Here," might they say, "shall power's divided reign
"Evince that patriots have not bled in vain.
"Here godlike liberty's herculean youth,
"Cradled in peace, and nurtured up by truth
"To full maturity of nerve and mind,
"Shall crush the giants that bestride mankind.
"Here shall religion's pure and balmy draught
"In form no more from cups of state be quaft,
"But flow for all, through nation, rank, and sect,
"Free as that heaven its tranquil waves reflect.
"Around the columns of the public shrine
"Shall growing arts their gradual wreath intwine,
"Nor breathe corruption from the flowering braid,
"Nor mine that fabric which they bloom to shade,
"No longer here shall Justice bound her view,
"Or wrong the many, while she rights the few;
"But take her range through all the social frame,
"Pure and pervading as that vital flame
"Which warms at once our best and meanest part,
"And thrills a hair while it expands a heart!"
Oh golden dream! what soul that loves to scan
The bright disk rather than the dark of man,
That owns the good, while smarting with the ill,
And loves the world with all its frailty still,--
What ardent bosom does not spring to meet
The generous hope, with all that heavenly heat,
Which makes the soul unwilling to resign
The thoughts of growing, even on earth, divine!
Yes, dearest friend, I see thee glow to think
The chain of ages yet may boast a link
Of purer texture than the world has known,
And fit to bind us to a Godhead's throne.
But, is it thus? doth even the glorious dream
Borrow from truth that dim, uncertain gleam,
Which tempts us still to give such fancies scope,
As shock not reason, while they nourish hope?
No, no, believe me, 'tis not so--even now,
While yet upon Columbia's rising brow
The showy smile of young presumption plays,
Her bloom is poisoned and her heart decays.
Even now, in dawn of life, her sickly breath
Burns with the taint of empires near their death;
And, like the nymphs of her own withering clime,
She's old in youth, she's blasted in her prime,
Already has the child of Gallia's school
The foul Philosophy that sins by rule,
With all her train of reasoning, damning arts,
Begot by brilliant heads on worthless hearts,
Like things that quicken after Nilus' flood,
The venomed birth of sunshine and of mud,--
Already has she poured her poison here
O'er every charm that makes existence dear;
Already blighted, with her blackening trace,
The opening bloom of every social grace,
And all those courtesies, that love to shoot
Round virtue's stem, the flowerets of her fruit.
And, were these errors but the wanton tide
Of young luxuriance or unchastened pride;
The fervid follies and the faults of such
As wrongly feel, because they feel too much;
Then might experience make the fever less,
Nay, graft a virtue on each warm excess.
But no; 'tis heartless, speculative ill,
All youth's transgression with all age's chill;
The apathy of wrong, the bosom's ice,
A slow and cold stagnation into vice.
Long has the love of gold, that meanest rage,
And latest folly of man's sinking age,
Which, rarely venturing in the van of life,
While nobler passions wage their heated strife,
Comes skulking last, with selfishness and fear,
And dies, collecting lumber in the rear,--
Long has it palsied every grasping hand
And greedy spirit through this bartering land;
Turned life to traffic, set the demon gold
So loose abroad that virtue's self is sold,
And conscience, truth, and honesty are made
To rise and fall, like other wares of trade.
Already in this free, this virtuous state,
Which, Frenchmen tell us, was ordained by fate,
To show the world, what high perfection springs
From rabble senators, and merchant kings,--
Even here already patriots learn to steal
Their private perquisites from public weal,
And, guardians of the country's sacred fire,
Like Afric's priests, let out the flame for hire.
Those vaunted demagogues, who nobly rose
From England's debtors to be England's foes,
Who could their monarch in their purse forget,
And break allegiance, but to cancel debt,
Have proved at length, the mineral's tempting hue,
Which makes a patriot, can un-make him too.
Oh! Freedom, Freedom, how I hate thy cant!
Not Eastern bombast, not the savage rant
Of purpled madmen, were they numbered all
From Roman Nero down to Russian Paul,
Could grate upon my ear so mean, so base,
As the rank jargon of that factious race,
Who, poor of heart and prodigal of words,
Formed to be slaves, yet struggling to be lords,
Strut forth, as patriots, from their negro-marts,
And shout for rights, with rapine in their hearts.
Who can, with patience, for a moment see
The medley mass of pride and misery,
Of whips and charters, manacles and rights,
Of slaving blacks and democratic whites,
And all the piebald polity that reigns
In free confusion o'er Columbia's plains?
To think that man, thou just and gentle God!
Should stand before thee with a tyrant's rod
O'er creatures like himself, with souls from thee,
Yet dare to boast of perfect liberty;
Away, away--I'd rather hold my neck
By doubtful tenure from a sultan's beck,
In climes, where liberty has scarce been named,
Nor any right but that of ruling claimed,
Than thus to live, where bastard Freedom waves
Her fustian flag in mockery over slaves;
Where--motley laws admitting no degree
Betwixt the vilely slaved and madly free--
Alike the bondage and the license suit
The brute made ruler and the man made brute.
But, while I thus, my friend, in flowerless song,
So feebly paint, what yet I feel so strong,
The ills, the vices of the land, where first
Those rebel fiends, that rack the world, were nurst,
Where treason's arm by royalty was nerved,
And Frenchmen learned to crush the throne they served--
Thou, calmly lulled in dreams of classic thought,
By bards illumined and by sages taught,
Pant'st to be all, upon this mortal scene,
That bard hath fancied or that sage hath been.
Why should I wake thee? why severely chase
The lovely forms of virtue and of grace,
That dwell before thee, like the pictures spread
By Spartan matrons round the genial bed,
Moulding thy fancy, and with gradual art
Brightening the young conceptions of thy heart.
Forgive me, Forbes--and should the song destroy
One generous hope, one throb of social joy,
One high pulsation of the zeal for man,
Which few can feel, and bless that few who can,--
Oh! turn to him, beneath those kindred eyes
Thy talents open and thy virtues rise,
Forget where nature has been dark or dim,
And proudly study all her lights in him.
Yes, yes, in him the erring world forget,
And feel that man _may_ reach perfection yet.
 "What will be the old age of this government, if it is thus
early decrepit!" Such was the remark of Fauchet, the French minister at
Philadelphia, in that famous despatch to his government, which was
intercepted by one of our cruisers in the year 1794. This curious memorial
may be found in Porcupine's Works, vol. i. p. 279. It remains a striking
monument of republican intrigue on one side and republican profligacy on
the other; and I would recommend the perusal of it to every honest
politician, who may labor under a moment's delusion with respect to the
purity of American patriotism.
 See Porcupine's account of the Pennsylvania Insurrection in
1794. In short, see Porcupine's works throughout, for ample corroboration
of every sentiment which I have ventured to express. In saying this, I
refer less to the comments of that writer than to the occurrences which he
has related and the documents which he has preserved. Opinion may be
suspected of bias, but facts speak for themselves.
TO THOMAS HUME, ESQ., M. D.
FROM THE CITY OF WASHINGTON.
'Tis evening now; beneath the western star
Soft sighs the lover through his sweet cigar,
And fills the ears of some consenting she
With puffs and vows, with smoke and constancy.
The patriot, fresh from Freedom's councils come,
Now pleased retires to lash his slaves at home;
Or woo, perhaps, some black Aspasia's charms,
And dream of freedom in his bondsmaid's arms.
In fancy now, beneath the twilight gloom,
Come, let me lead thee o'er this "second Rome!"
Where tribunes rule, where dusky Davi bow,
And what was Goose-Creek once is Tiber now:--
This embryo capital, where Fancy sees
Squares in morasses, obelisks in trees;
Which second-sighted seers, even now, adorn
With shrines unbuilt and heroes yet unborn,
Though naught but woods and Jefferson they see,
Where streets should run and sages _ought_ to be.
And look, how calmly in yon radiant wave,
The dying sun prepares his golden grave.
Oh mighty river! oh ye banks of shade!
Ye matchless scenes, in nature's morning made,
While still, in all the exuberance of prime,
She poured her wonders, lavishly sublime,
Nor yet had learned to stoop, with humbler care,
From grand to soft, from wonderful to fair;--
Say, were your towering hills, your boundless floods,
Your rich savannas and majestic woods,
Where bards should meditate and heroes rove,
And woman charm, and man deserve her love,--
Oh say, was world so bright, but born to grace
Its own half-organized, half-minded race
Of weak barbarians, swarming o'er its breast,
Like vermin gendered on the lion's crest?
Were none but brutes to call that soil their home,
Where none but demigods should dare to roam?
Or worse, thou wondrous world! oh! doubly worse,
Did heaven design thy lordly land to nurse
The motley dregs of every distant clime,
Each blast of anarchy and taint of crime
Which Europe shakes from her perturbed sphere,
In full malignity to rankle here?
But hold,--observe yon little mount of pines,
Where the breeze murmurs and the firefly shines.
There let thy fancy raise, in bold relief,
The sculptured image of that veteran chief
Who lost the rebel's in the hero's name,
And climb'd o'er prostrate royalty to fame;
Beneath whose sword Columbia's patriot train
Cast off their monarch that their mob might reign.
How shall we rank thee upon glory's page?
Thou more than soldier and just less than sage!
Of peace too fond to act the conqueror's part,
Too long in camps to learn a statesman's art,
Nature designed thee for a hero's mould,
But, ere she cast thee, let the stuff grow cold.
While loftier souls command, nay, make their fate,
Thy fate made thee and forced thee to be great.
Yet Fortune, who so oft, so blindly sheds
Her brightest halo round the weakest heads,
Found _thee_ undazzled, tranquil as before,
Proud to be useful, scorning to be more;
Less moved by glory's than by duty's claim,
Renown the meed, but self-applause the aim;
All that thou _wert_ reflects less fame on thee,
Far less, than all thou didst _forbear to be_.
Nor yet the patriot of one land alone,--
For, thine's a name all nations claim their own;
And every shore, where breathed the good and brave,
Echoed the plaudits thy own country gave.
Now look, my friend, where faint the moonlight falls
On yonder dome, and, in those princely halls,--
If thou canst hate, as sure that soul must hate,
Which loves the virtuous, and reveres the great,
If thou canst loathe and execrate with me
The poisoning drug of French philosophy,
That nauseous slaver of these frantic times,
With which false liberty dilutes her crimes,
If thou has got, within thy free-born breast,
One pulse that beats more proudly than the rest,
With honest scorn for that inglorious soul,
Which creeps and whines beneath a mob's control,
Which courts the rabble's smile, the rabble's nod,
And makes, like Egypt, every beast its god,
There, in those walls--but, burning tongue forbear!
Rank must be reverenced, even the rank that's there:
So here I pause--and now, dear Hume, we part:
But oft again, in frank exchange of heart,
Thus let us meet, and mingle converse dear
By Thames at home, or by Potowmac here.
O'er lake and marsh, through fevers and through fogs,
'Midst bears and yankees, democrats and frogs,
Thy foot shall follow me, thy heart and eyes
With me shall wonder, and with me despise.
While I, as oft, in fancy's dream shall rove,
With thee conversing, through that land I love,
Where, like the air that fans her fields of green,
Her freedom spreads, unfevered and serene;
And sovereign man can condescend to see
The throne and laws more sovereign still than he.
 "On the original location of the ground now allotted for the seat of
the Federal City [says Mr. Weld] the identical spot on which the capitol
now stands was called Rome. This anecdote is related by many as a certain
prognostic of the future magnificence of this city, which is to be, as it
were, a second Rome."--_Weld's Travels_, letter iv.
 A little stream runs through the city, which, with intolerable
affectation, they have styled the Tiber. It was originally called Goose-
 "To be under the necessity of going through a deep wood for one or two
miles, perhaps, in order to see a next-door neighbor, and in the same
city, is a curious and I believe, a novel circumstance."--_Weld_, letter
The Federal City (if it, must be called a city), has hot been much
increased since Mr. Weld visited it.
 The picture which Buffon and De Pauw have drawn of the American
Indian, though very humiliating, is, as far as I can judge, much more
correct than the flattering representations which Mr. Jefferson has given
us. See the Notes on Virginia, where this gentleman endeavors to disprove
in general the opinion maintained so strongly by some philosophers that
nature (as Mr. Jefferson expresses it) _belittles_ her productions in
the western world.
 On a small hill near the capital there is to be an equestrian statue
of General Washington.
LINES WRITTEN ON LEAVING PHILADELPHIA.
Alone by the Schuylkill a wanderer roved,
And bright were its flowery banks to his eye;
But far, very far were the friends that he loved,
And he gazed on its flowery banks with a sigh.
Oh Nature, though blessed and bright are thy rays,
O'er the brow of creation enchantingly thrown,
Yet faint are they all to the lustre that plays
In a smile from the heart that is fondly our own.
Nor long did the soul of the stranger remain
Unblest by the smile he had languished to meet;
Though scarce did he hope it would soothe him again,
Till the threshold of home had been pressed by his feet.
But the lays of his boyhood had stolen to their ear,
And they loved what they knew of so humble a name;
And they told him, with flattery welcome and dear,
That they found in his heart something better than fame.
Nor did woman--oh woman! Whose form and whose soul
Are the spell and the life of each path we pursue;
Whether sunned in the tropics or chilled at the pole,
If woman be there, there is happiness too:--
Nor did she her enamoring magic deny,--
That magic his heart had relinquished so long,--
Like eyes he had loved was _her_ eloquent eye,
Like them did it soften and weep at his song.
Oh, blest be the tear, and in memory oft
May its sparkle be shed o'er the wanderer's dream;
Thrice blest be that eye, and may passion as soft,
As free from a pang, ever mellow its beam!
The stranger is gone--but he will not forget,
When at home he shall talk of the toils he has known,
To tell, with a sigh, what endearments he met,
As he strayed by the wave of the Schuylkill alone.
LINES WRITTEN AT THE COHOS, OR FALLS OF THE MOHAWK KIVER.
_Gia era in loco ove s'udia l'rimbombo
Dell' acqua_. DANTE.
From rise of morn till set of sun
I've seen the mighty Mohawk run;
And as I markt the woods of pine
Along his mirror darkly shine,
Like tall and gloomy forms that pass
Before the wizard's midnight glass:
And as I viewed the hurrying pace
With which he ran his turbid race,
Rushing, alike untried and wild,
Through shades that frowned and flowers that smiled,
Flying by every green recess
That wooed him to its calm caress,
Yet, sometimes turning with the wind,
As if to leave one look behind,--
Oft have I thought, and thinking sighed,
How like to thee, thou restless tide,
May be the lot, the life of him
Who roams along thy water's brim;
Through what alternate wastes of woe
And flowers of joy my path may go;
How many a sheltered, calm retreat
May woo the while my weary feet,
While still pursuing, still unblest,
I wander on, nor dare to rest;
But, urgent as the doom that calls
Thy water to its destined falls,
I feel the world's bewildering force
Hurry my heart's devoted course
From lapse to lapse, till life be done,
And the spent current cease to run.
One only prayer I dare to make,
As onward thus my course I take;--
Oh, be my falls as bright as thine!
May heaven's relenting rainbow shine
Upon the mist that circles me,
As soft as now it hangs o'er thee!
 There is a dreary and savage character in the country immediately
about these Falls, which is much more in harmony with the wildness of such
a scene than the cultivated lands in the neighborhood of Niagara.
SONG OF THE EVIL SPIRIT OF THE WOODS.
_qua via difficilis, quaque est via nulla_
OVID _Metam. lib_ iii. v. 227.
Now the vapor, hot and damp,
Shed by day's expiring lamp,
Through the misty ether spreads
Every ill the white man dreads;
Fiery fever's thirsty thrill,
Fitful ague's shivering chill!
Hark! I hear the traveller's song,
As he winds the woods along;--
Christian, 'tis the song of fear;
Wolves are round thee, night is near,
And the wild thou dar'st to roam--
Think, 'twas once the Indian's home!
Hither, sprites, who love to harm,
Wheresoe'er you work your charm,
By the creeks, or by the brakes,
Where the pale witch feeds her snakes,
And the cayman loves to creep,
Torpid, to his wintry sleep:
Where the bird of carrion flits,
And the shuddering murderer sits,
Lone beneath a roof of blood;
While upon his poisoned food,
From the corpse of him he slew
Drops the chill and gory dew.
Hither bend ye, turn ye hither,
Eyes that blast and wings that wither
Cross the wandering Christian's way,
Lead him, ere the glimpse of day,
Many a mile of maddening error
Through the maze of night and terror,
Till the morn behold him lying
On the damp earth, pale and dying.
Mock him, when his eager sight
Seeks the cordial cottage-light;
Gleam then, like the lightning-bug,
Tempt him to the den that's dug
For the foul and famished brood
Of the she wolf, gaunt for blood;
Or, unto the dangerous pass
O'er the deep and dark morass,
Where the trembling Indian brings
Belts of porcelain, pipes, and rings,
Tributes, to be hung in air,
To the Fiend presiding there!
Then, when night's long labor past,
Wildered, faint, he falls at last,
Sinking where the causeway's edge
Moulders in the slimy sedge,
There let every noxious thing
Trail its filth and fix its sting;
Let the bull-toad taint him over,
Round him let mosquitoes hover,
In his ears and eyeballs tingling,
With his blood their poison mingling,
Till, beneath the solar fires,
Rankling all, the wretch expires!
 The idea of this poem occurred to me in passing through the very
dreary wilderness between Batavia, a new settlement in the midst of the
woods, and the little village of Buffalo upon Lake Erie. This is the most
fatiguing part of the route, in travelling through the Genesee country to
 "The Five Confederated Nations (of Indians) were settled along the
banks of the Susquehannah and the adjacent country, until the year 1779,
when General Sullivan, with an army of 4000 men drove them from their
country to Niagara, where, being obliged to live on salted provisions, to
which they were unaccustomed, great numbers of them died. Two hundred of
them, it is said, were buried in one grave, where they had encamped."--
_Morse's American Geography_.
 The alligator, who is supposed to lie in a torpid state all the
winter, in the bank of some creek or pond, having previously swallowed a
large number of pine-knots, which are his only sustenance during the time.
 This was the mode of punishment for murder (as Charlevoix tells us)
among the Hurons. "They laid the dead body upon poles at the top of a
cabin, and the murderer was obliged to remain several days together, and
to receive all that dropped from the carcass, not only on himself but on
 "We find also collars of porcelain, tobacco, ears of maize, skins,
etc., by the side of difficult and dangerous ways, on rocks, or by the
side of the falls; and these are so many offerings made to the spirits
which preside in these places."--See _Charlevoix's Letter on the
Traditions and the Religion of the Savages of Canada_.
Father Hennepin too mentions this ceremony; he also says, "We took notice
of one barbarian, who made a kind of sacrifice upon an oak at the Cascade
of St. Anthony of Padua upon the river Mississippi."--See _Hennepin's
Voyage into North America_.
TO THE HONORABLE W. R. SPENCER.
FROM BUFFALO, UPON LAKE ERIE.
_nec venit ad duros musa vocata Getas_.
OVID. _ex Ponto, lib. 1. ep. 5_.
Thou oft hast told me of the happy hours
Enjoyed by thee in fair Italia's bowers,
Where, lingering yet, the ghost of ancient wit
Midst modern monks profanely dares to flit.
And pagan spirits, by the Pope unlaid,
Haunt every stream and sing through every shade.
There still the bard who (if his numbers be
His tongue's light echo) must have talked like thee,--
The courtly bard, from whom thy mind has caught
Those playful, sunshine holidays of thought,
In which the spirit baskingly reclines,
Bright without effort, resting while it shines,--
There still he roves, and laughing loves to see
How modern priests with ancient rakes agree:
How, 'neath the cowl, the festal garland shines,
And Love still finds a niche in Christian shrines.
There still, too, roam those other souls of song,
With whom thy spirit hath communed so long,
That, quick as light, their rarest gems of thought,
By Memory's magic to thy lip are brought.
But here, alas! by Erie's stormy lake,
As, far from such bright haunts my course I take,
No proud remembrance o'er the fancy plays,
No classic dream, no star of other days
Hath left that visionary light behind,
That lingering radiance of immortal mind,
Which gilds and hallows even the rudest scene,
The humblest shed, where Genius once has been!
All that creation's varying mass assumes
Of grand or lovely, here aspires and blooms;
Bold rise the mountains, rich the gardens glow,
Bright lakes expand, and conquering rivers flow;
But mind, immortal mind, without whose ray,
This world's a wilderness and man but clay,
Mind, mind alone, in barren, still repose,
Nor blooms, nor rises, nor expands, nor flows.
Take Christians, Mohawks, democrats, and all
From the rude wigwam to the congress-hall,
From man the savage, whether slaved or free,
To man the civilized, less tame than he,--
'Tis one dull chaos, one unfertile strife
Betwixt half-polished and half-barbarous life;
Where every ill the ancient world could brew
Is mixt with every grossness of the new;
Where all corrupts, though little can entice,
And naught is known of luxury but its vice!
Is this the region then, is this the clime
For soaring fancies? for those dreams sublime,
Which all their miracles of light reveal
To heads that meditate and hearts that feel?
Alas! not so--the Muse of Nature lights
Her glories round; she scales the mountain heights,
And roams the forests; every wondrous spot
Burns with her step, yet man regards it not.
She whispers round, her words are in the air,
But lost, unheard, they linger freezing there,
Without one breath of soul, divinely strong,
One ray of mind to thaw them into song.
Yet, yet forgive me, oh ye sacred few,
Whom late by Delaware's green banks I knew;
Whom, known and loved through many a social eve,
'Twas bliss to live with, and 'twas pain to leave.
Not with more joy the lonely exile scanned
The writing traced upon the desert's sand,
Where his lone heart but little hoped to find
One trace of life, one stamp of human kind,
Than did I hail the pure, the enlightened zeal,
The strength to reason and the warmth to feel,
The manly polish and the illumined taste,
Which,--mid the melancholy, heartless waste
My foot has traversed,--oh you sacred few!
I found by Delaware's green banks with you.
Long may you loathe the Gallic dross that runs
Through your fair country and corrupts its sons;
Long love the arts, the glories which adorn
Those fields of freedom, where your sires were born.
Oh! if America can yet be great,
If neither chained by choice, nor doomed by fate
To the mob-mania which imbrutes her now,
She yet can raise the crowned, yet civic brow
Of single majesty,--can add the grace
Of Rank's rich capital to Freedom's base,
Nor fear the mighty shaft will feebler prove
For the fair ornament that flowers above;--
If yet released from all that pedant throng,
So vain of error and so pledged to wrong,
Who hourly teach her, like themselves, to hide
Weakness in vaunt and barrenness in pride,
She yet can rise, can wreathe the Attic charms
Of soft refinement round the pomp of arms,
And see her poets flash the fires of song,
To light her warriors' thunderbolts along;--
It is to you, to souls that favoring heaven
Has made like yours, the glorious task is given:--
Oh! but for _such_, Columbia's days were done;
Rank without ripeness, quickened without sun,
Crude at the surface, rotten at the core,
Her fruits would fall, before her spring were o'er.
Believe me, Spencer, while I winged the hours
Where Schuylkill winds his way through banks of flowers,
Though few the days, the happy evenings few;
So warm with heart, so rich with mind they flew,
That my charmed soul forgot its wish to roam,
And rested there, as in a dream of home.
And looks I met, like looks I'd loved before,
And voices too, which, as they trembled o'er
The chord of memory, found full many a tone
Of kindness there in concord with their own.
Yes,--we had nights of that communion free,
That flow of heart, which I have known with thee
So oft, so warmly; nights of mirth and mind,
Of whims that taught, and follies that refined.
When shall we both renew them? when, restored
To the gay feast and intellectual board,
Shall I once more enjoy with thee and thine
Those whims that teach, those follies that refine?
Even now, as, wandering upon Erie's shore,
I hear Niagara's distant cataract roar,
I sigh for home,--alas! these weary feet
Have many a mile to journey, ere we meet.
 This epithet was suggested by Charlevoix's striking description of the
confluence of the Missouri with the Mississippi.
 Alluding to the fanciful notion of "words congealed in northern air."
 In the society of Mr. Dennie and his friends, at Philadelphia, I
passed the few agreeable moments which my tour through the States afforded
me. Mr. Dennie has succeeded in diffusing through this cultivated little
circle that love for good literature and sound politics which he feels so
zealously himself, and which is so very rarely the characteristic of his
countrymen. They will not, I trust, accuse me of illiberality for the
picture which I have given of the ignorance and corruption that surround
them. If I did not hate, as I ought, the rabble to which they are opposed,
I could not value, as I do, the spirit with which they defy it; and in
learning from them what Americans _can be_, I but see with the more
indignation what Americans _are_.
I knew by the smoke, that so gracefully curled
Above the green elms, that a cottage was near.
And I said, "If there's peace to be found in the world,
"A heart that was humble might hope for it here!"
It was noon, and on flowers that languished around
In silence reposed the voluptuous bee;
Every leaf was at rest, and I heard not a sound
But the woodpecker tapping the hollow beech-tree.
And, "Here in this lone little wood," I exclaimed,
"With a maid who was lovely to soul and to eye,
"Who would blush when I praised her, and weep if I blamed,
How blest could I live, and how calm could I die!
"By the shade of yon sumach, whose red berry dips
"In the gush of the fountain, how sweet to recline,
"And to know that I sighed upon innocent lips,
"Which had never been sighed on by any but mine!"
A CANADIAN BOAT SONG.
WRITTEN ON THE RIVER ST. LAWRENCE.
_et remigem cantus hortatur_.
Faintly as tolls the evening chime
Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time.
Soon as the woods on shore look dim,
We'll sing at St. Ann's our parting hymn.
Row, brothers, row, the stream runs fast,
The Rapids are near and the daylight's past.
Why should we yet our sail unfurl?
There is not a breath the blue wave to curl,
But, when the wind blows off the shore,
Oh! sweetly we'll rest our weary oar.
Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast,
The Rapids are near and the daylight's past.
Utawas' tide! this trembling moon
Shall see us float over thy surges soon.
Saint of this green isle! hear our prayers,
Oh, grant us cool heavens and favoring airs.
Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast,
The Rapids are near and the daylight's past.
 I wrote these words to an air which our boatmen sung to us frequently.
The wind was so unfavorable that they were obliged to row all the way, and
we were five days in descending the river from Kingston to Montreal,
exposed to an intense sun during the day, and at night forced to take
shelter from the dews in any miserable hut upon the banks that would
receive us. But the magnificent scenery of the St. Lawrence repays all
 "At the Rapid of St. Ann they are obliged to take out part, if not the
whole, of their lading. It is from this spot Canadians consider they take
their departure, as it possesses the last church on the island, which is
dedicated to the tutelar saint of voyagers."--_Mackenzie, General History
of the Fur Trade_.
TO THE LADY CHARLOTTE RAWDON.
FROM THE BANKS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE.
Not many months have now been dreamed away
Since yonder sun, beneath whose evening ray
Our boat glides swiftly past these wooded shores,
Saw me where Trent his mazy current pours,
And Donington's old oaks, to every breeze,
Whisper the tale of by-gone centuries;--
Those oaks, to me as sacred as the groves,
Beneath whose shade the pious Persian roves,
And hears the spirit-voice of sire, or chief,
Or loved mistress, sigh in every leaf.
There, oft, dear Lady, while thy lip hath sung
My own unpolished lays, how proud I've hung
On every tuneful accent! proud to feel.
That notes like mine should have the fate to steal,
As o'er thy hallowing lip they sighed along.
Such breath of passion and such soul of song.
Yes,--I have wondered, like some peasant boy
Who sings, on Sabbath-eve, his strains of joy,
And when he hears the wild, untutored note
Back to his ear on softening echoes float,
Believes it still some answering spirit's tone,
And thinks it all too sweet to be his own!
I dreamt not then that, ere the rolling year
Had filled its circle, I should wander here
In musing awe; should tread this wondrous world,
See all its store of inland waters hurled
In one vast volume down Niagara's steep,
Or calm behold them, in transparent sleep,
Where the blue hills of old Toronto shed
Their evening shadows o'er Ontario's bed;
Should trace the grand Cadaraqui, and glide
Down the white rapids of his lordly tide
Through massy woods, mid islets flowering fair,
And blooming glades, where the first sinful pair
For consolation might have weeping trod,
When banished from the garden of their God,
Oh, Lady! these are miracles, which man,
Caged in the bounds of Europe's pigmy span,
Can scarcely dream of,--which his eye must see
To know how wonderful this world can be!
But lo,--the last tints of the west decline,
And night falls dewy o'er these banks of pine.
Among the reeds, in which our idle boat
Is rocked to rest, the wind's complaining note
Dies like a half-breathed whispering of flutes;
Along the wave the gleaming porpoise shoots,
And I can trace him, like a watery star,
Down the steep current, till he fades afar
Amid the foaming breakers' silvery light.
Where yon rough rapids sparkle through the night.
Here, as along this shadowy bank I stray,
And the smooth glass-snake, glid-o'er my way,
Shows the dim moonlight through his scaly form,
Fancy, with all the scene's enchantment warm,
Hears in the murmur of the nightly breeze
Some Indian Spirit warble words like these:--
From the land beyond the sea,
Whither happy spirits flee;
Where, transformed to sacred doves,
Many a blessed Indian roves
Through the air on wing, as white
As those wondrous stones of light,
Which the eye of morning counts
On the Apalachian mounts,--
Hither oft my flight I take
Over Huron's lucid lake,
Where the wave, as clear as dew,
Sleeps beneath the light canoe,
Which, reflected, floating there,
Looks as if it hung in air.
Then, when I have strayed a while
Through the Manataulin isle,
Breathing all its holy bloom,
Swift I mount me on the plume
Of my Wakon-Bird, and fly
Where, beneath a burning sky,
O'er the bed of Erie's lake
Slumbers many a water-snake,
Wrapt within the web of leaves,
Which the water-lily weaves.
Next I chase the floweret-king
Through his rosy realm of spring;
See him now, while diamond hues
Soft his neck and wings suffuse,
In the leafy chalice sink,
Thirsting for his balmy drink;
Now behold him all on fire,
Lovely in his looks of ire,
Breaking every infant stem,
Scattering every velvet gem,
Where his little tyrant lip
Had not found enough to sip.
Then my playful hand I steep
Where the gold-thread loves to creep,
Cull from thence a tangled wreath,
Words of magic round it breathe,
And the sunny chaplet spread
O'er the sleeping fly-bird's head,
Till, with dreams of honey blest,
Haunted, in his downy nest,
By the garden's fairest spells,
Dewy buds and fragrant bells,
Fancy all his soul embowers
In the fly-bird's heaven of flowers.
Oft, when hoar and silvery flakes
Melt along the ruffled lakes,
When the gray moose sheds his horns,
When the track, at evening, warns
Weary hunters of the way
To the wigwam's cheering ray,
Then, aloft through freezing air,
With the snow-bird soft and fair
As the fleece that heaven flings
O'er his little pearly wings,
Light above the rocks I play,
Where Niagara's starry spray,
Frozen on the cliff, appears
Like a giant's starting tears.
There, amid the island-sedge,
Just upon the cataract's edge,
Where the foot of living man
Never trod since time began,
Lone I sit, at close of day,
While, beneath the golden ray,
Icy columns gleam below,
Feathered round with falling snow,
And an arch of glory springs,
Sparkling as the chain of rings
Round the neck of virgins hung,--
Virgins, who have wandered young
O'er the waters of the west
To the land where spirits rest!
Thus have I charmed, with visionary lay,
The lonely moments of the night away;
And now, fresh daylight o'er the water beams!
Once more, embarked upon the glittering streams,
Our boat flies light along the leafy shore,
Shooting the falls, without a dip of oar
Or breath of zephyr, like the mystic bark
The poet saw, in dreams divinely dark,
Borne, without sails, along the dusky flood,
While on its deck a pilot angel stood,
And, with his wings of living light unfurled,
Coasted the dim shores of another world!
Yet, oh! believe me, mid this mingled maze
Of Nature's beauties, where the fancy strays
From charm to charm, where every floweret's hue
Hath something strange, and every leaf is new,--
I never feel a joy so pure and still
So inly felt, as when some brook or hill,
Or veteran oak, like those remembered well,
Some mountain echo or some wild-flower's smell,
(For, who can say by what small fairy ties
The memory clings to pleasure as it flies?)
Reminds my heart of many a silvan dream
I once indulged by Trent's inspiring stream;
Of all my sunny morns and moonlight nights
On Donington's green lawns and breezy heights.
Whether I trace the tranquil moments o'er
When I have seen thee cull the fruits of lore,
With him, the polished warrior, by thy side,
A sister's idol and a nation's pride!
When thou hast read of heroes, trophied high
In ancient fame, and I have seen thine eye
Turn to the living hero, while it read,
For pure and brightening comments on the dead;--
Or whether memory to my mind recalls
The festal grandeur of those lordly halls,
When guests have met around the sparkling board,
And welcome warmed the cup that luxury poured;
When the bright future Star of England's throne,
With magic smile, hath o'er the banquet shone,
Winning respect, nor claiming what he won,
But tempering greatness, like an evening sun
Whose light the eye can tranquilly admire,
Radiant, but mild, all softness, yet all fire;--
Whatever hue my recollections take,
Even the regret, the very pain they wake
Is mixt with happiness;--but, ah! no more--
Lady! adieu--my heart has lingered o'er
Those vanished times, till all that round me lies,
Stream, banks, and bowers have faded on my eyes!
 Anburey, in his Travels, has noticed this shooting illumination which
porpoises diffuse at night through the river St. Lawrence,--Vol. i. p. 29.
 The glass-snake is brittle and transparent.
 "The departed spirit goes into the Country of Souls, where, according
to some, it is transformed into a dove."--_Charlevoix upon the
Traditions and the Religion of the Savages of Canada_.
 "The mountains appeared to be sprinkled with white stones, which
glistened in the sun, and were called by the Indians manetoe aseniah, or
 Manataulin signifies a Place of Spirits, and this island in Lake Huron
is held sacred by the Indians.
 "The Wakon-Bird, which probably is of the same species with the bird
of Paradise, receives its name from the ideas the Indians have of its
superior excellence; the Wakon-Bird being, in their language, the Bird of
the Great Spirit."--_Morse_.
 The islands of Lake Erie are surrounded to a considerable distance by
the large pond-lily, whose leaves spread thickly over the surface of the
lake, and form a kind of bed for the water-snakes in summer.
AFTER A VISIT TO MRS. ----, OF MONTREAL.
'Twas but for a moment--and yet in that time
She crowded the impressions of many an hour:
Her eye had a glow, like the sun of her clime,
Which waked every feeling at once into flower.
Oh! could we have borrowed from Time but a day,
To renew such impressions again and again,
The things we should look and imagine and say
Would be worth all the life we had wasted till then.
What we had not the leisure or language to speak,
We should find some more spiritual mode of revealing,
And, between us, should feel just as much in a week
As others would take a millennium in feeling.
ON PASSING DEADMAN'S ISLAND,
IN THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE,
LATE IN THE EVENING, SEPTEMBER, 1804.
See you, beneath yon cloud so dark,
Fast gliding along a gloomy bark?
Her sails are full,--though the wind is still,
And there blows not a breath her sails to fill!
Say, what doth that vessel of darkness bear?
The silent calm of the grave is there,
Save now and again a death-knell rung,
And the flap of the sails with night-fog hung.
There lieth a wreck on the dismal shore
Of cold and pitiless Labrador;
Where, under the moon, upon mounts of frost,
Full many a mariner's bones are tost.
Yon shadowy bark hath been to that wreck,
And the dim blue fire, that lights her deck,
Doth play on as pale and livid a crew,
As ever yet drank the churchyard dew.
To Deadman's Isle, in the eye of the blast,
To Deadman's Isle, she speeds her fast;
By skeleton shapes her sails are furled,
And the hand that steers is not of this world!
Oh! hurry thee on-oh! hurry thee on,
Thou terrible bark, ere the night be gone,
Nor let morning look on so foul a sight
As would blanch for ever her rosy light!
 This is one of the Magdalen Islands, and, singularly enough, is the
property of Sir Isaac Coffin. The above lines were suggested by a
superstition very common among sailors, who called this ghost-ship, I
think, "The Flying Dutchman."
TO THE BOSTON FRIGATE, ON LEAVING HALIFAX FOR ENGLAND,
With triumph, this morning, oh Boston! I hail
The stir of thy deck and the spread of thy sail,
For they tell me I soon shall be wafted, in thee,
To the flourishing isle of the brave and the free,
And that chill Nova-Scotia's unpromising strand
Is the last I shall tread of American land.
Well--peace to the land! may her sons know, at length,
That in high-minded honor lies liberty's strength,
That though man be as free as the fetterless wind,
As the wantonest air that the north can unbind,
Yet, if health do not temper and sweeten the blast,
If no harvest of mind ever sprung where it past,
Then unblest is such freedom, and baleful its might,--
Free only to ruin, and strong but to blight!
Farewell to the few I have left with regret:
May they sometimes recall, what I cannot forget;
The delight of those evenings,--too brief a delight!
When in converse and song we have stolen on the night;
When they've asked me the manners, the mind, or the mien,
Of some bard I had known or some chief I had seen,
Whose glory, though distant, they long had adored,
Whose name had oft hallowed the wine-cup they poured;
And still as, with sympathy humble but true,
I have told of each bright son of fame all I knew,
They have listened, and sighed that the powerful stream
Of America's empire should pass like a dream,
Without leaving one relic of genius, to say,
How sublime was the tide which had vanished away!
Farewell to the few--though we never may meet
On this planet again, it is soothing and sweet
To think that, whenever my song or my name
Shall recur to their ear, they'll recall me the same
I have been to them now, young, unthoughtful, and blest,
Ere hope had deceived me or sorrow deprest.
But, Douglas! while thus I recall to my mind
The elect of the land we shall soon leave behind,
I can read in the weather-wise glance of thine eye
As it follows the rack flitting over the sky,
That the faint coming breeze would be fair for our flight,
And shall steal us away, ere the falling of night.
Dear Douglas! thou knowest, with thee by my side,
With thy friendship to soothe me, thy courage to guide,
There is not a bleak isle in those summerless seas,
Where the day comes in darkness, or shines but to freeze,
Not a tract of the line, not a barbarous shore,
That I could not with patience, with pleasure explore!
Oh think then how gladly I follow thee now,
When Hope smooths the billowy path of our prow,
And each prosperous sigh of the west-springing wind
Takes me nearer the home where my heart is inshrined;
Where the smile of a father shall meet me again,
And the tears of a mother turn bliss into pain;
Where the kind voice of sisters shall steal to my heart,
And ask it, in sighs, how we ever could part?--
But see!--the bent top sails are ready to swell--
To the boat--I am with thee--Columbia, farewell!
 Commanded by Captain J. E. Douglas, with whom I returned to England,
and to whom I am indebted for many, many kindnesses.
TO THE MARCHIONESS DOWAGER OF DONEGAL.
It is now many years since, in, a Letter prefixed to the Third Number of
the Irish Melodies, I had the pleasure of inscribing the Poems of that
work to your Ladyship, as to one whose character reflected honor on the
country to which they relate, and whose friendship had long been the pride
and happiness of their Author. With the same feelings of affection and
respect, confirmed if not increased by the experience of every succeeding
year, I now place those Poems in their present new form under your
protection, and am,
With perfect Sincerity,
Your Ladyship's ever attached friend,
Though an edition of the Poetry of the Irish Melodies, separate from the
Music, has long been called for, yet, having, for many reasons, a strong
objection to this sort of divorce, I should with difficulty have consented
to a disunion of the words from the airs, had it depended solely upon me
to keep them quietly and indissolubly together. But, besides the various
shapes in which these, as well as my other lyrical writings, have been
published throughout America, they are included, of course, in all the
editions of my works printed on the Continent, and have also appeared, in
a volume full of typographical errors, in Dublin. I have therefore readily
acceded to the wish expressed by the Proprietor of the Irish Melodies, for
a revised and complete edition of the poetry of the Work, though well
aware that my verses must lose even more than the "_animae dimidium_" in
being detached from the beautiful airs to which it was their good fortune
to be associated.
GO WHERE GLORY WAITS THEE.
Go where glory waits thee,
But while fame elates thee,
Oh! still remember me.
When the praise thou meetest
To thine ear is sweetest,
Oh! then remember me.
Other arms may press thee,
Dearer friends caress thee,
All the joys that bless thee,
Sweeter far may be;
But when friends are nearest,
And when joys are dearest,
Oh! then remember me!
When, at eve, thou rovest
By the star thou lovest,
Oh! then remember me.
Think, when home returning,
Bright we've seen it burning,
Oh! thus remember me.
Oft as summer closes,
When thine eye reposes
On its lingering roses,
Once so loved by thee,
Think of her who wove them,
Her who made thee love them,
Oh! then, remember me.
When, around thee dying,
Autumn leaves are lying,
Oh! then remember me.
And, at night, when gazing
On the gay hearth blazing,
Oh! still remember me.
Then should music, stealing
All the soul of feeling,
To thy heart appealing,
Draw one tear from thee;
Then let memory bring thee
Strains I used to sing thee,--
Oh! then remember me.
REMEMBER THE GLORIES OF BRIEN THE BRAVE.
Remember the glories of Brien the brave,
Tho' the days of the hero are o'er;
Tho' lost to Mononia and cold in the grave,
He returns to Kinkora no more.
That star of the field, which so often hath poured
Its beam on the battle, is set;
But enough of its glory remains on each sword,
To light us to victory yet.
Mononia! when Nature embellished the tint
Of thy fields, and thy mountains so fair,
Did she ever intend that a tyrant should print
The footstep of slavery there?
No! Freedom, whose smile we shall never resign,
Go, tell our invaders, the Danes,
That 'tis sweeter to bleed for an age at thy shrine,
Than to sleep but a moment in chains.
Forget not our wounded companions, who stood
In the day of distress by our side;
While the moss of the valley grew red with their blood,
They stirred not, but conquered and died.
That sun which now blesses our arms with his light,
Saw them fall upon Ossory's plain;--
Oh! let him not blush, when he leaves us to-night,
To find that they fell there in vain.
 Brien Boromhe, the great monarch of Ireland, who was killed at the
battle of Clontarf, in the beginning of the 11th century, after having
defeated the Danes in twenty-five engagements.
 The palace of Brien.
 This alludes to an interesting circumstance related of the Dalgais,
the favorite troops of Brien, when they were interrupted in their return
from the battle of Clontarf, by Fitzpatrick, prince of Ossory. The wounded
men entreated that they might be allowed to fight with the rest,--"_Let
stakes_[they said] _be stuck in the ground, and suffer each of us to be
tied to and supported by one of these stakes, to be placed in his rank by
the side of a sound man_." "Between seven and eight hundred men (adds
O'Halloran) pale, emaciated, and supported in this manner, appeared mixed
with the foremost of the troops;--never was such another sight
exhibited."--_"History of Ireland_," book xii. chap i.
ERIN! THE TEAR AND THE SMILE IN THINE EYES.
Erin, the tear and the smile in thine eyes,
Blend like the rainbow that hangs in thy skies!
Shining through sorrow's stream,
Saddening through pleasure's beam,
Thy suns with doubtful gleam,
Weep while they rise.
Erin, thy silent tear never shall cease,
Erin, thy languid smile ne'er shall increase,
Till, like the rainbow's light,
Thy various tints unite,
And form in heaven's sight
One arch of peace!
OH! BREATHE NOT HIS NAME.
Oh! breathe not his name, let it sleep in the shade,
Where cold and unhonored his relics are laid:
Sad, silent, and dark, be the tears that we shed,
As the night-dew that falls on the grass o'er his head.
But the night-dew that falls, tho' in silence it weeps,
Shall brighten with verdure the grave where he sleeps;
And the tear that we shed, tho' in secret it rolls,
Shall long keep his memory green in our souls.
WHEN HE, WHO ADORES THEE.
When he, who adores thee, has left but the name
Of his fault and his sorrows behind,
Oh! say wilt thou weep, when they darken the fame
Of a life that for thee was resigned?
Yes, weep, and however my foes may condemn,
Thy tears shall efface their decree;
For Heaven can witness, tho' guilty to them,
I have been but too faithful to thee.
With thee were the dreams of my earliest love;
Every thought of my reason was thine;
In my last humble prayer to the Spirit above,
Thy name shall be mingled with mine.
Oh! blest are the lovers and friend who shall live
The days of thy glory to see;
But the next dearest blessing that Heaven can give
Is the pride of thus dying for thee.
THE HARP THAT ONCE THRO' TARA'S HALLS.
The harp that once thro' Tara's halls
The soul of music shed,
Now hangs as mute on Tara's walls.
As if that soul were fled.--
So sleeps the pride of former days,
So glory's thrill is o'er,
And hearts, that once beat high for praise,
Now feel that pulse no more.
No more to chiefs and ladies bright
The harp of Tara swells;
The chord alone, that breaks at night,
Its tale of ruin tells.
Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes,
The only throbs she gives,
Is when some heart indignant breaks.
To show that still she lives.
FLY NOT YET.
Fly not yet, 'tis just the hour,
When pleasure, like the midnight flower
That scorns the eye of vulgar light,
Begins to bloom for sons of night,
And maids who love the moon.
'Twas but to bless these hours of shade
That beauty and the moon were made;
'Tis then their soft attractions glowing
Set the tides and goblets flowing.
Oh! stay,--Oh! stay,--
Joy so seldom weaves a chain
Like this to-night, and oh, 'tis pain
To break its links so soon.
Fly not yet, the fount that played
In times of old through Ammon's shade,
Though icy cold by day it ran,
Yet still, like souls of mirth, began
To burn when night was near.
And thus, should woman's heart and looks,
At noon be cold as winter brooks,
Nor kindle till the night, returning,
Brings their genial hour for burning.
Oh! stay,--Oh! stay,--
When did morning ever break,
And find such beaming eyes awake
As those that sparkle here?
OH! THINK NOT MY SPIRITS ARE ALWAYS AS LIGHT.
Oh! think not my spirits are always as light,
And as free from a pang as they seem to you now;
Nor expect that the heart-beaming smile of to-night
Will return with to morrow to brighten my brow.
No!--life is a waste of wearisome hours,
Which seldom the rose of enjoyment adorns;
And the heart that is soonest awake to the flowers,
Is always the first to be touched by the thorns.
But send round the bowl, and be happy awhile--
May we never meet worse, in our pilgrimage here,
Than the tear that enjoyment may gild with a smile,
And the smile that compassion can turn to a tear.
The thread of our life would be dark, Heaven knows!
If it were not with friendship and love intertwined:
And I care not how soon I may sink to repose,
When these blessings shall cease to be dear to my mind.
But they who have loved the fondest, the purest.
Too often have wept o'er the dream they believed;
And the heart that has slumbered in friendship, securest,
Is happy indeed if 'twas never deceived.
But send round the bowl; while a relic of truth
Is in man or in woman, this prayer shall be mine,--
That the sunshine of love may illumine our youth,
And the moonlight of friendship console our decline.
THO' THE LAST GLIMPSE OF ERIN WITH SORROW I SEE.
Tho' the last glimpse of Erin with sorrow I see,
Yet wherever thou art shall seem Erin to me;
In exile thy bosom shall still be my home,
And thine eyes make my climate wherever we room.
To the gloom of some desert or cold rocky shore,
Where the eye of the stranger can haunt us no more,
I will fly with my Coulin, and think the rough wind
Less rude than the foes we leave frowning behind.
And I'll gaze on thy gold hair as graceful it wreathes;
And hang o'er thy soft harp, as wildly it breathes;
Nor dread that the cold-hearted Saxon will tear
One chord from that harp, or one lock from that hair.
 "In the twenty-eighth year of the reign of Henry VIII, an Act was made
respecting the habits, and dress in general, of the Irish, whereby all
persons were restrained from being shorn or shaven above the ears, or from
wearing Glibbes, or _Coulins_ (long locks), on their heads, or hair on
their upper lip, called _Crommeal_. On this occasion a song was written by
one of our bards, in which an Irish virgin is made to give the preference
to her dear _Coulin_ (or the youth with the flowing locks) to all
strangers (by which the English were meant), or those who wore their
habits. Of this song, the air alone has reached us, and is universally
admired."--"_Walker's "Historical Memoirs of Irish Bards_," p. 184. Mr.
Walker informs us also, that, about the same period, there were some harsh
measures taken against the Irish Minstrels.
RICH AND RARE WERE THE GEMS SHE WORE.
Rich and rare were the gems she wore,
And a bright gold ring on her wand she bore;
But oh! her beauty was far beyond
Her sparkling gems, or snow-white wand.
"Lady! dost thou not fear, to stray,
"So lone and lovely through this bleak way?
"Are Erin's sons so good or so cold,
"As not to be tempted by woman or gold?"
"Sir Knight! I feel not the least alarm,
"No son of Erin will offer me harm:--
"For though they love woman and golden store,
"Sir Knight! they love honor and virtue more!"
On she went and her maiden smile
In safety lighted her round the green isle;
And blest for ever is she who relied
Upon Erin's honor, and Erin's pride.
 This ballad is founded upon the following anecdote:--"The people were
inspired with such a spirit of honor, virtue, and religion, by the great
example of Brien, and by his excellent administration, that, as a proof of
it, we are informed that a young lady of great beauty, adorned with jewels
and a costly dress, undertook a journey alone, from one end of the kingdom
to the other, with a wand only in her hand, at the top of which was a ring
of exceeding great value; and such an impression had the laws and
government of this Monarch made on the minds of all the people, that no
attempt was made upon her honor, nor was she robbed of her clothes or
jewels."--_Warner's "History of Ireland_," vol i, book x.
AS A BEAM O'ER THE FACE OF THE WATERS MAY GLOW.
As a beam o'er the face of the waters may glow
While the tide runs in darkness and coldness below,
So the cheek may be tinged with a warm sunny smile,
Though the cold heart to ruin runs darkly the while.
One fatal remembrance, one sorrow that throws
Its bleak shade alike o'er our joys and our woes.
To which life nothing darker or brighter can bring
For which joy has no balm and affliction no sting--
Oh! this thought in the midst of enjoyment will stay,
Like a dead, leafless branch in the summer's bright ray;
The beams of the warm sun play round it in vain,
It may smile in his light, but it blooms not again.
THE MEETING OF THE WATERS.
There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet;
Oh! the last rays of feeling and life must depart,
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart.
Yet it _was_ not that nature had shed o'er the scene
Her purest of crystal and brightest of green;
'Twas _not_ her soft magic of streamlet or hill,
Oh! no,--it was something more exquisite still.
'Twas that friends, the beloved of my bosom, were near,
Who made every dear scene of enchantment more dear,
And who felt how the best charms of nature improve,
When we see them reflected from looks that we love.
Sweet vale of Avoca! how calm could I rest
In thy bosom of shade, with the friends I love best.
Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease,
And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace.
 "The Meeting of the Waters" forms a part of that beautiful scenery
which lies between Rathdrum and Arklow, in the county of Wicklow, and
these lines were suggested by a visit to this romantic spot, in the summer
of the year 1807.
 The rivers Avon and Avoca.
HOW DEAR TO ME THE HOUR.
How dear to me the hour when daylight dies,
And sunbeams melt along the silent sea,
For then sweet dreams of other days arise,
And memory breathes her vesper sigh to thee.
And, as I watch the line of light, that plays
Along the smooth wave toward the burning west,
I long to tread that golden path of rays,
And think 'twould lead to some bright isle of rest.
TAKE BACK THE VIRGIN PAGE.
WRITTEN ON RETURNING A BLANK BOOK.
Take back the virgin page,
White and unwritten still;
Some hand, more calm and sage,
The leaf must fill.
Thoughts come, as pure as light
Pure as even _you_ require:
But, oh! each word I write
Love turns to fire.
Yet let me keep the book:
Oft shall my heart renew,
When on its leaves I look,
Dear thoughts of you.