Henry Timrod

(8 December 1828 - 7 October 1867 / Charleston, South Carolina)

A Dedication - To K.S.G. Poem by Henry Timrod


Fair Saxon, in my lover's creed,
My love were smaller than your meed,
And you might justly deem it slight,
As wanting truth as well as sight,
If, in that image which is shrined
Where thoughts are sacred, you could find
A single charm, or more or less,
Than you to all kind eyes possess.
To me, even in the happiest dreams,
Where, flushed with love's just dawning gleams,
My hopes their radiant wings unfurl,
You're but a simple English girl,
No fairer, grace for grace arrayed,
Than many a simple Southern maid;
With faults enough to make the good
Seem sweeter far than else it would;
Frank in your anger and your glee,
And true as English natures be,
Yet not without some maiden art
Which hides a loving English heart.
Still there are moments, brief and bright,
When fancy, by a poet's light,
Beholds you clothed with loftier charms
Than love e'er gave to mortal arms.
A spell is woven on the air
From your brown eyes and golden hair,
And all at once you seem to stand
Before me as your native land,
With all her greatness in your guise,
And all her glory in your eyes;
And sometimes, as if angels sung,
I hear her poets on your tongue.
And, therefore, I, who from a boy
Have felt an almost English joy
In England's undecaying might,
And England's love of truth and right,
Next to my own young country's fame
Holding her honor and her name,
I -- who, though born where not a vale
Hath ever nursed a nightingale,
Have fed my muse with English song
Until her feeble wing grew strong --
Feel, while with all the reverence meet
I lay this volume at your feet,
As if through your dear self I pay,
For many a deep and deathless lay,
For noble lessons nobly taught,
For tears, for laughter, and for thought,
A portion of the mighty debt
We owe to Shakespeare's England yet!

Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

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