Felicia Dorothea Hemans

(25 September 1793 – 16 May 1835 / Liverpool, England)

Italian Girl's Hymn To The Virgin - Poem by Felicia Dorothea Hemans

In the deep hour of dreams,
Through the dark woods, and past the moaning sea,
And by the star-light gleams,
Mother of sorrows! lo, I come to thee!

Unto thy shrine I bear
Night-blowing flowers, like my own heart, to lie
All, all unfolded there,
Beneath the meekness of thy pitying eye.

For thou, that once didst move,
In thy still beauty, through an early home,
Thou knowest the grief, the love,
The fear of woman's soul; - to thee I come!

Many, and sad, and deep,
Were the thoughts folded in thy silent breast;
Thou, too, couldst watch and weep -
Hear, gentlest mother! hear a heart oppressed!

There is a wandering bark
Bearing one from me o'er the restless wave:
Oh! let thy soft eye mark
His course; - be with him, holiest, guide and save!

My soul is on that way;
My thoughts are travellers o'er the waters dim;
Through the long weary day
I walk, o'ershadowed by vain dreams of him.

Aid him - and me, too, aid!
Oh! 'tis not well, this earthly love's excess!
On thy weak child is laid
The burden of too deep a tenderness.

Too much o'er
is poured
My being's hope - scarce leaving Heaven a part;
Too faithfully adored,
Oh! make not him the chastener of my heart!

I tremble with a sense
Of grief to be; - I hear a warming low
Sweet mother! call me hence!
This wild idolatry must end in woe.

The troubled joy of life,
Love's lightning happiness, my soul hath known
And, worn with feverish strife,
Would fold its wings; take back, take back thine own.

Hark! how the wind swept by!
The tempest's voice comes rolling o'er the wave -
Hope of the sailor's eye,
And maiden's heart, blest mother, guide and save!

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010

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