Felicia Dorothea Hemans
These birds of Paradise but long to flee
Back to their native mansion. ~
Prophecy of Dante
A Requiem! and for whom!
For beauty in its bloom?
For valour fall'n? a broken rose or sword?
A dirge for king or chief,
With pomp of stately grief,
Banner, and torch, and waving plume deplor'd?
Not so, it is not so!
The warning voice I know,
From other worlds a strange mysterious tone;
A solemn funeral air
It call'd me to prepare,
And my heart answer'd secretly my own!
One more then, one more strain,
In links of joy and pain,
Mighty the troubled spirit to inthrall!
And let me breathe my dower
Of passion and of power
Full into that deep lay the last of all!
The last! and I must go
From this bright world below,
This realm of sunshine, ringing with sweet sound!
Must leave its festal skies,
With all their melodies,
That ever in my breast glad echoes found!
Yet have I known it long:
Too restless and too strong
Within this clay hath been th' o'ermastering flame;
Swift thoughts, that came and went,
Like torrents o'er me sent,
Have shaken, as a reed, my thrilling frame.
Like perfumes on the wind
Which none may stay or bind,
The beautiful comes floating thro' my soul;
I strive with yearnings vain,
The spirit to detain
Of the deep harmonies that past me roll!
Therefore disturbing dreams
Trouble the secret streams
And founts of music that o'erflow my breast;
Something far more divine
Than may on earth be mine,
Haunts my worn heart, and will not let me rest.
Shall I then fear the tone
That breathes from worlds unknown?
Surely these feverish aspirations there
Shall grasp their full desire,
And this unsettled fire,
Burn calmly, brightly, in immortal air.
One more then, one more strain;
To earthly joy and pain
A rich, and deep, and passionate farewell!
I pour each fervent thought
With fear, hope, trembling, fraught,
Into the notes that o'er my dust shall swell.
Felicia Dorothea Hemans's Other Poems
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