Page images
PDF

Oh happy time! when laws of state,
When all that ruled the country's fate,
Its glory, quiet, or alarms,
Was planned between two snowy arms !
Sweet times ! you could not always last
And yet, oh! yet, you are not past;
Though we have lost the sacred mould
In which their men were cast of old,
Woman, dear woman, still the same,
While lips are balm and looks are flame,
While man possesses heart or eyes,
Woman's bright empire never dies !
Fanny, my love, they ne'er shall say
That beauty's charm hath passed away ;
No--give the universe a soul
Attuned to woman's soft control,
And Fanny hath the charm, the skill
To wield a universe at will !

THE GRECIAN GIRL'S DREAM
OF THE Blessed ISLANDS. *

TO HER LOVER.
:....... XL te kalos
Πυθαγορης, όσσοι τε χορον στηριξαν έρωτος.
Atollw trepi IIXwTlvov. Oracul. Metric. a Joan

Opsop. collecta.
Was it the moon, or was it morning's ray,
That called thee, dearest, from these arms away?
I lingered still, in all the murmuring rest,
The languor of a soul too richly blest !
Upon my breath the sigh yet faintly hung;
Thy name yet died in whispers o'er my tongue ;
I heard thy lyre, which thou hadst left behind,
In amorous converse with the breathing wind;
Quick to my heart I pressed the shell divine,
And, with a lip yet glowing warm from thine,
I kissed its every chord, while every kiss
Shed o'er the chord some dewy print of bliss.
Then soft to thee I touched the servid lyre,
Which told such melodies, such notes of fire,
As none but chords, that drank the burning dews
Of kisses dear as ours, could e'er diffuse !

* It was imagined by some of the ancients that there is an ethereal ocean above us, and that the sun and moon are two floating luminous islands in which the spirits of the blest reside. Accordingly we find that the word '12keavos was sometimes synonymous with anp, and death was not unfrequently called 'Dkeavolo Tropos, or “the passage of the ocean."

O love ! how blissful is the bland repose
That soothing follows upon rapture's close,
Like a soft twilight, o'er the mind to shed
Mild melting traces of the transport fled !

While thus I lay, in this voluptuous calm,
A drowsy languor steeped my eyes in Dalm;
Upon my lap the lyre in murmurs fell;
While, faintly wandering o'er its silver shell,
My fingers soon their own sweet requiem played,
And slept in music which themselves had made !
Then, then, my Theon, what a heavenly dream!
I saw two spirits, on the lunar beam,
Two winged boys, descending from above,
And gliding to my bower with looks of love,
Like the young genii who repose their wings
All day in Amatha's luxurious springs,
And rise at midnight from the tepid rill
To cool their plumes upon some moonlight hill !

Soft o'er my brow, which kindled with their sighs,
Awhile they played ; then gliding through my eyes,
(Where the bright babies, for a moment, hung,
Like those thy lip hath kissed, thy lyre hath sung,)
To that dim mansion of my breast they stole,
Where, wreathed in blisses, lay my captive soul.
Swift at their touch dissolved the ties that clung
So sweetly round her, and aloft she sprung!
Exulting guides, the little genii flew
Through paths of light, refreshed with starry dew.
And fanned by airs of that ambrosial breath
On which the free soul banquets after death!

Thou know'st, my love, beyond our clouded skies, As bards have dreamed, the spirits' kingdom lies. Through that fair clime a sea of ether rolls, Gemmed with bright islands, where the hallowed souls Whom life hath wearied in its race of hours Repose for ever in unfading bowers ! That very orb whose solitary light So often guides thee to my arms at night Is no chill planet, but an isle of love, Floating in splendour through those seas above! Thither, I thought, we winged our airy way. Mild o'er its valleys streamed a silvery day, While, all around, on lily beds of rest, Reclined the spirits of the immortal blest ! Oh! there I met those few congenial maids Whom love hath warmed in philosophic shades: There still Leontium, on her sage's breast, Found lore and love, was tutored and caressed ; And there the twine of Pythia's gentle arms Repaid the zeal which deified her charms !

The Attic Master in Aspasia's eyes Forgot the toil of less endearing ties; While fair Theano, innocently fair, Played with the ringlets of her Samian's hair, Who, fixed by love, at length was all her own, And passed his spirit through her lips alone!

O Samian sage ! whate'er thy glowing thought Of mystic Numbers so divinely wrought, The One that's formed of Two who dearly love Is the best number heaven can boast above!

But think, my Theon, how this soul was thrilled, When near a fount, which o'er the vale distilled, My fancy's eye beheld a form recline, Of lunar race, but so resembling thine That oh !—'twas but fidelity in me To fly, to clasp, and worship it for thee! No aid of words the unbodied soul requires To waft a wish or embassy desires ; But, by a throb to spirits only given, By a mute impulse only felt in heaven, Swifter than meteor shaft through summer skies, From soul to soul the glanced idea flies!

We met—like thee the youthful vision smiled! But not like thee, when, passionately wild, Thou wakest the slumbering blushes of my cheek, By looking things thyself would blush to speak ! No! 'twas the tender, intellectual smile, Flushed with the past, and yet serene the while, Of that delicious hour when, glowing yet, Thou yield'st to nature with a fond regret, And thy soul, waking from its wildered dream, Lights in thine eye a mellower, chaster beam!

O my beloved ! how divinely sweet Is the pure joy when kindred spirits meet ! The Elean god, whose faithful waters flow, With love their only light, through caves below, Wafting in triumph all the flowery braids, And festal rings, with which Olympic maids Have decked their billow, as an offering meet To pour at Arethusa's crystal feetThink, when he mingles with his fountain-bride, What perfect rapture thrills the blended tide! Each melts in each, till one pervading kiss Confound their currents in a sea of bliss ! Twas thus

But, Theon, 'tis a weary theme, And thou delightest not in my lingering dream. Oh! that our lips were at this moment near, And I would kiss thee into patience, dear!

And make thee smile at all the magic tales
Of starlight bowers and planetary vales,
Which my fond soul, inspired by thee and love,
In slumber's loom hath exquisitely wove.
But no; no more. -Soon as to-morrow's ray
O’er soft Ilissus shall dissolve away,
I'll fly, my Theon, to thy burning breast,
And there in murmurs tell thee all the rest;
Then if too weak, too cold the vision seems,
Thy lip shall teach me something more than dreams!

THE STEERSMAN'S SONG.

Written aboard the Boston Frigate.
WHEN freshly blows the northern gale,

And under courses snug we fly;
When lighter 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 through waves and air,
Oh! then I think that yet for me

Some breeze of fortune thus may spring,
Some breeze to wast me, love, to thee!
And in that hope I smiling sing,

Steady, boy! so.

TO CHLOE.

IMITATED FROM MARTIAL.
I COULD resign that eye of blue,

Howe'er it burn, howe'er it thrill me;
And though your lip be rich with dew,

To lose it, Chloe, scarce would kill me.

That snowy neck I ne'er should miss,

However warm I've twined about it; And though your bosom beat with bliss,

I think my soul could live without it. In short, I've learned so well to fast

That sooth, my love, I know not whether I might not bring myself at last

To-do without you altogether!

TO THE FIRE-FLY.*
This morning, when the earth and sky

Were burning with the blush of spring,
I saw thee not, thou humble fly!

Nor thought upon thy gleaming wing. But now the skies have lost their hue,

And sunny lights no longer play, I see thee, and I bless thee too

For sparkling o'er the dreary way. Oh! let me hope that thus for me,

When life and love shall lose their bloom, Some milder joys may come, like thee,

To light, if not to warm, the gloom !

THE VASE. THERE was a vase of odour lay

For many an hour on Beauty's shrine, So sweet that Love went every day

To banquet on its breath divine. And not an eye had ever seen

The fragrant charm the vase concealed ; O Love ! how happy 'twould have been

If thou hadst ne'er that charm revealed! But Love, like every other boy,

Would know the spell that lurks within ; He wished to break the crystal toy,

But Beauty murmured 'twas a sin ! He swore, with many a tender plea,

That neither Heaven nor earth forbad it; She told him, Virtue kept the key, · And looked as if she wished he had it !

* The lively and varying illumination with which these fire-fies light up the woods at night gives quite an idea of enchantment. - See L'Histoire des An tilles, art. 2, chap. 4, liv. 1.

« PreviousContinue »