SET TO MUSIC BY MR. WALSH.
I ponder many a silent hour,
On friends belov’d when far at sea,
And, tell me, have I not the power
To draw one kindred thought to me!
The while we linger on the coast,
My truant fancy homeward flies,
And when the view is almost lost,
Unmanly tears bedew my eyes —
And oft forgetful do I stand,
Nor crew, nor ship, nor ocean see;
And often does my heart demand,
If friends belov’d thus think on me!
And when to England bound once more,
I shall with fond impatience burn,
Will not some others on the shore
As fondly look for my return!
O! let me of your kindness hear!
Repeat the strain as I depart!
It swells like music on my ear,
It falls like balm upon my heart.
Adieu to old England! adieu to my friends!
Though fortune and fame I pursue,
On thus looking around me, I cannot conceal,
How reluctant I bid them adieu!
My heart sinks within me, I sigh to the gale,
Thus slowly receding from shore,
While fancy still whispers some terrible tale,
A perhaps I may see it no more!
There all that I love, that I value, remain,
That only awakens my fears,
For will the same spot its dear inmates contain,
On the lapse of two lingering years?
They may smile in good fortune, or weep in distress,
I shall know not a word of their fate!
No pain can I soften, no sorrow redress!
I may come, when, alas! ’tis too late!
I can fly without fear to encounter the foe,
To my earliest wish I am true;
But I cannot unmov’d quit the friends that I love,
Or bid my dear country adieu!
ON THE DEPARTURE OF HIS WIFE FROM CALCUTTA.
Long is thy passage o’er the main,
And native air alone can save!
No friend thy weakness will sustain,
But India is, for thee, a grave!
Though winds arise, though surges swell,
Maria, we must say farewell!
Oh! I bethink me of the time,
When with each airy hope in view,
In triumph to this fervid clime
I bore a flowret nurs’d in dew!
No fears did then my joy reprove,
And it was boundless as my love!
Yet now to strangers I consign
Thy wounded mind, thy feeble health;
A charge more dear than life resign,
To watch a little worldly wealth
Duty compels me to remain
But oh! how heavy feels the chain!
My dear Maria! smile no more?
This seeming patience makes me wild!
So would’st thou once my peace restore,
When, mourning for our only child,
Each faint appeal was lost in air,
Or turn’d my sadness to despair.
Alas! I only make thee grieve.
And hark! the boat awaits below!
They call aloud! and I must leave,
The tears my folly forc’d to flow.
Oh! had I but the time to prove,
That mine are only fears of love!
I reach’d a country, strange and rude,
And trembled, lest approaching eve
My hope of shelter might deceive;
When I espied a hunter train,
Prowling at leisure o’er the plain,
And hasten’d on to ask relief,
Of the ill-omen’d, haughty chief.
His eye was artful, keen, and bold,
His smile malevolently cold,
And had not all my fire been fled,
And every earthly passion dead,
His pity to contempt allied,
Had rous’d my anger and my pride;
But, as it was, I bent my way,
Where his secluded mansion lay,
Which rose before my eyes at length,
A fortress of determin’d strength,
And layers of every colour’d moss
The lofty turrets did emboss,
As tho’ the hand of father Time,
Prepar’d a sacrifice sublime, —
Giving his daily rites away,
To aggrandize some future day.
Here as I roam’d the walk along,
I heard a plaintive broken song;
And ere I to the portal drew,
An open window caught my view,
Where a fair dame appear’d in sight,
Array’d in robes of purest white.
Large snowy folds confin’d her hair,
And left a polish’d forehead bare.
O’er her meek eyes, of deepest blue,
The sable lash long shadows threw;
Her cheek was delicately pale,
And seem’d to tell a piteous tale,
But o’er her looks such patience stole,
Such saint-like tenderness of soul,
That never did my eyes behold,
A beauty of a lovelier mold.The Lady sigh’d, and closely prest
A sleeping infant to her breast;
Shook off sweet tears of love, and smil’d,
Kissing the fingers of the child,
Which round her own unconscious clung,
Then fondly gaz’d, and softly sung:
Once like that sea, which ebbs and flows,
My bosom never knew repose,
And heavily each morn arose.
I bore with anger and disdain,
I had no power to break my chain,
No one to whom I dar’d complain.
And when some bird has caught my eye,
Or distant sail been flitting by,
I wish’d I could at freely fly.
But I can now contented be,
Can tell, dear babe, my griefs to thee
And feel more brave, and breathe more free.
And when thy father frowns severe,
Although my spirit faints with fear,
I feel I have a comfort near.
And when he harshly speaks to me,
If thou art smiling on my knee,
He softens as he looks on thee.
To soothe him in an evil hour
The bud has balm, oh! may the flower
Possess the same prevailing power!
Nor forc’d to leave thy native land,
To pledge a cold, unwilling hand,
May’st thou receive the hard command.
My mother had not half the zeal,
The aching fondness which I feel,
She had no broken heart to heal!
And I was friendless when she died,
Who could my little failings chide,
And for an hour her fondness hide.
But I can see no prospect ope,
Can give no fairy vision scope,
If thou art not the spring of hope.
I cannot thy affection draw,
By childhood’s first admiring awe;
Be tender pity then thy law!
This heart would bleed at every vein,
I could not even life sustain,
If ever thou should’st give me pain.
O! soul of sweetness! can it be,
That thou could’st prove unkind to me!
That I should fear this blow from thee!
Alas! e’en then I would not blame,
My love to thee should be the same,
And judge from whence unkindness came!
Her words grew indistinct and slow,
Her voice more tremulous and low,
When suddenly the song was o’er,
A whisper even heard no more —
She had discern’d my nearer tread;
Appear’d to feel alarm, and fled.
Elegy on Sophia Graham
WHO DIED JAN. 21, 1800.
Sweet is the voice of Friendship to the ear,
Sweet is Affection’s mildly-beaming eye,
Sweet the applause which flows from lips sincere,
And sweet is Pity’s soft responsive sigh!
But now those flowers of life have lost their bloom,
Faint all their beauty, cold their healing breath,
No object fills my eye but yonder tomb,
No sound awakes me but the name of death.
When in the world, I bear a look serene,
And veil the gloomy temper of my grief;
Sick with restraint at evening quit the scene,
To find in tears and solitude relief.
Parent of Hope and Fancy! thoughtful Night!
Why are these nurselings absent from thy bower,
While Memory, with sullen, strange delight,
Stalks lonely centinel the live-long hour?
O dear Sophia! could we e’er forget,
Such fair endowments and unsullied worth,
Thy partial friendship calls for our regret,
And selfish feeling gives remembrance birth.
How often when this trembling hand essays
Thy lov’d resemblance once again to trace,
The portrait thought in mimic life arrays
With all the sweet expression of thy face;
Art may its symmetry and beauty show,
A look, a character, the pencil seize,
Give to the form where youthful graces glow,
An air of pensive dignity and ease,
But warmth of feeling and sensation fine,
By mild reserve from common eyes conceal’d,
The ray of genius and the heart benign,
In artless gaiety so oft reveal’d —
All these are lost; no looks can now arise,
Like those which every little act endear’d,
Which even in the stranger’s careless eyes
Like innocence from other worlds appear’d!
Oft have I fear’d the breath of foolish praise,
Might taint the lily which so humbly grew;
That flattery’s sun might shoot delusive rays,
Impede her progress, and distract her view.
But vain the fear — for she remain’d the same,
To outward charms indifferent or blind,
Heedless alike of either praise or blame,
If it respected not her heart and mind.
Rich in historic lore, the poet’s lyre
Had not, though screen’d by time, forsaken hung,
She felt and studied with a kindred fire,
The lofty strain immortal Maro sung.
She knew — but why essay to trace her thought
Through its wide range, describe her blooming youth,
The heart whose feelings were so finely wrought,
Its meek ambition, and its love of truth?
All that parental-vanity desires,
All that the friend can muse upon and mourn,
All that the lover’s ardent vow inspires,
In thee, Sophia! from the world was torn!
But still we yield thee to no stranger’s care;
No unknown foe our tender love bereaves;
Thou goest the angels’ hallow’d bliss to share,
A Father thy exalted soul receives!
Edgar and Ellen
Fair dame, no farther go!
But listen to the martial strains,
Whose wildness speaks of woe!Hark! strife is forward on the field,
I hear the trumpet’s bray!
Now spear to spear, and shield to shield,
Decides the dreadful day!
Unfit for thee, oh! Lady fair!
The scenes where men engage;
Thy gentle spirit could not bear
The fearful battle’s rage. ”
” I prithee, stranger, let me fly!
Though pallid is my cheek,
The lightning’s flash delights my eye,
I love the thunder’s break.
And oft beneath our castle tow’rs,
When tempests rush’d along,
My steady hand has painted flowers,
Or voice has rais’d the song. ”
” Oh Lady! that bewilder’d eye
Is red with recent tears;
Already that heart-startling sigh
Proclaims thy anxious fears.
Then let a stranger’s words prevail,
Nor thus in danger roam!
Here many frightful ills assail,
But safety is at home! ”
” No, in some peasant’s lowly cot
Perhaps she may abide,
To consecrate the humble spot,
But not where I reside.
In Hubert’s halls, my father’s foe,
From childhood have I dwelt,
And for his wily murderer too,
A filial fondness felt.
Ah me! how often have I press’d
The lips which seal’d his doom!
How oft the cruel hand caress’d
Which sent him to the tomb!
My nurse reveal’d the dreadful truth,
And, as she told the tale,
A sickly blight pass’d o’er my youth,
And turn’d its roses pale.
The heavy secret on my heart
Like deadly poison prey’d;
For she forbade me to impart
A word of what she said.
I, who so blithely sung before,
So peacefully had slept,
Fancied gaunt murder at the door,
And listen’d, shook, and wept.
No longer with an open smile,
I greeted all around;
My fearful looks were fix’d the while,
In terror on the ground.
All saw the change, and kindly strove
My sadness to relieve;
Base Hubert feign’d a parent’s love,
Which could not see me grieve.
A painful anger flush’d my cheek,
My lip indignant smil’d,
I cried, ” And did he e’er bespeak
Thy friendship for his child? ”
” Ellen! when death was drawing nigh,
Thou wert his only care;
Oh! guard her, Hubert, if I die,
It is my latest prayer.
To none, dear friend, but thee, ” he cried,
” Whose love and truth are known,
Could I this precious charge confide,
To cherish, as thy own! ”
I pledg’d my honour, to fulfil
My dearest friend’s desire!
And I have ever acted still,
As honour’s laws require!
Thy mind, dear Ellen, is the proof
Of my paternal care,
Since form’d beneath this friendly roof,
So excellent and fair.
Then why that cloud upon thy brow,
That sullen, fearful sigh!
That something which we must not know,
That cold and altered eye?
Why must thy proud, suspicious air,
Give every heart a pain?
Why must my son, my Edgar bear
Unmerited disdain? ”
I hung my bead, my fault’ring tongue
In feeble murmurs spoke,
His specious art my bosom wrung,
I shudder’d at his look.
And thus, bewildered with my woes,
I faint and careless rove;
For oh! I cannot dwell with those
I must no longer love. ”
” Fair lady, calm that anxious heart,
And to my voice attend!
Thy father died by Hubert’s dart,
And yet he was his friend.
For Lancaster Sir Philip rose,
And many a Yorkist slew;
Till, singling him amidst his foes,
Lord Hubert’s arrow flew.
But soon we saw the victor stand
Beside, in sorrow drown’d;
And soon Sir Philip took the hand,
Which gave the deadly wound.
” My friend, unweeting was thy aim,
And is by me forgiv’n,
But oh! one sacred oath I claim,
In sight of men, and heav’n!
Oh! promise with a father’s zeal,
My Ellen to protect!
Nor let her like an orphan feel
Dependence, and neglect!
And then, almost without regret,
I can my charge resign;
For, during life, I never met
So true a heart as thine. ”
Lord Hubert pledg’d his sacred word,
He wept, and, kneeling, swore,
In England ne’er to wield a sword,
Or shoot an arrow more.
From civil war, whose daily crimes
This island long shall rue,
From all the evil of the times,
In anguish he withdrew.
I wonder that, by nature bold,
He stoop’d to wear disguise,
Or leave the hapless tale untold,
Which wakens thy surprise!
Yet the sad shame that fill’d his breast,
May well thy pity crave,
A turtle dove may build her nest
Upon thy father’s grave — ”
” Stranger, that warrior from the east,
Who comes with headlong speed,
Is Edgar, Hubert’s son, at least,
He rides on Edgar’s steed! ”
” Be calm, fair maid! Thou gallant knight,
Who speedest o’er the plain,
Give us some tidings of the fight,
The victor and the slain!
One moment stay! for many a care
Now fills us with alarm!
Is Edward King? Is Hubert’s heir,
Escap’d from death and harm? ”
” The sun of Lancaster is set,
And never more to rise; ”
Return’d the knight, ” I know not yet
If Edgar lives or dies! ”
And scarce he check’d the flowing rein,
In hurried accents spoke,
And, dull and hollow was the strain
That through the helmet broke.
” Where is he? ” shriek’d fair Ellen forth,
He started at the sound,
And, leaping sudden on the earth,
His armour rang around.
” Queen of my destiny! ” he cried,
” Thy faithful Edgar see!
Whose welfare thou canst best decide,
For it depends on thee!
I sav’d our youthful Monarch’s life,
Whose bounteous hand accords,
A dower to grace the noblest wife
That England’s realm affords.
With thee his splendid gifts I share,
Or soon this youthful head
A solemn monk’s dark cowl shall wear,
To love and glory dead.
Perhaps that tear upon thy cheek
Foretels a milder doom!
Thou wilt again our mansion seek,
Oh! let me lead thee home! ”
What shall I send my sweet today,
When all the woods attune in love ?
And I would show the lark and dove,
That I can love as well as they.
I’ll send a locket full of hair,
But no, for it might chance to lie
Too near her heart, and I should die
Of love’s sweet envy to be there.
A violet is sweet to give,
Ah stay! she’d touch it with her lips,
And, after such complete eclipse,
How could my soul consent to live ?
I’ll send a kiss, for that would be
The quickest sent, the lightest borne
And well I know tomorrow morn
She’ll send it back again to me.
Go, happy winds; ah do not stay,
Enamoured of my lady’s cheek,
But hasten home, and I’ll bespeak
Your services another day !