Treasure Island

Felicia Dorothea Hemans

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

Stanzas on the Late National Calamity, the Death of the Princess Charlotte


MARK'D ye the mingling of the city's throng,
Each mien, each glance, with expectation bright?
Prepare the pageant, and the choral song,
The pealing chimes, the blaze of festal light!
And hark! what rumour's gathering sound is nigh?
Is it the voice of joy, that murmur deep?
Away! be hush'd! ye sounds of revelry.
Back to your homes, ye multitudes, to weep!
Weep! for the storm hath o'er us darkly past,
And England's royal flower is broken by the blast!
II

Was it a dream? so sudden and so dread
That awful fiat o'er our senses came!
So loved, so blest, is that young spirit fled,
Whose early grandeur promised years of fame?
Oh! when hath life possess'd, or death destroy'd
More lovely hopes, more cloudlessly that smiled?
When hath the spoiler left so dark a void?
For all is lost-the mother and her child!
Our morning-star hath vanish'd, and the tomb
Throws its deep lengthen'd shade o'er distant years to come.
III

Angel of Death! did no presaging sign
Announce thy coming, and thy way prepare?
No warning voice, no harbinger was thine,
Danger and fear seem'd past-but thou wert there!
Prophetic sounds along the earthquake's path
Foretell the hour of nature's awful throes;
And the volcano, ere it burst in wrath,
Sends forth some herald from its dread repose:
But thou, dark Spirit! swift and unforeseen,
Cam'st like the lightning's flash, when heaven is all serene.
IV

And she is gone-the royal and the young,
In soul commanding, and in heart benign;
Who, from a race of kings and heroes sprung,
Glow'd with a spirit lofty as her line.
Now may the voice she loved on earth so well
Breathe forth her name, unheeded and in vain;
Nor can those eyes on which her own would dwell,
Wake from that breast one sympathy again:
The ardent heart, the towering mind are fled,
Yet shall undying love still linger with the dead.
V

Oh! many a bright existence we have seen
Quench'd, in the glow and fulness of its prime;
And many a cherish'd flower, ere now, hath been
Cropt, ere its leaves were breathed upon by time.
We have lost heroes in their noon of pride,
Whose fields of triumph gave them but a bier;
And we have wept when soaring genius died,
Check'd in the glory of his mid career!
But here our hopes were centred-all is o'er,
All thought in this absorb'd-she was-and is no more!
VI

We watch'd her childhood from its earliest hour,
From every word and look blest omens caught;
While that young mind developed all its power,
And rose to energies of loftiest thought.
On her was fix'd the patriot's ardent eye,
One hope still bloom'd-one vista still was fair;
And when the tempest swept the troubled sky
She was our dayspring-all was cloudless there;
And oh! how lovely broke on England's gaze,
E'en through the mist and storm, the light of distant days.
VII

Now hath one moment darken'd future years,
And changed the track of ages yet to be!-
Yet, mortal! 'midst the bitterness of tears,
Kneel, and adore the inscrutable decree!
Oh! while the clear perspective smiled in light,
Wisdom should then have temper'd hope's excess,
And, lost One! when we saw thy Iot so bright,
We might have trembled at its loveliness:
Joy is no earthly flower-nor framed to bear,
In its exotic bloom, life's cold, ungenial air.
VIII

All smiled around thee-Youth, and Love, and Praise,
Hearts all devotion and all truth were thine!
On thee was riveted a nation's gaze,
As on some radiant and unsullied shrine.
Heiress of empires! thou art passe'd away,
Like some fair vision, that arose to throw,
O'er one brief hour of life, a fleeting ray,
Then leave the rest to solitude and woe!
Oh! who shall dare to woo such dreams again!
Who hath not wept to know, that tears for thee were vain?
IX

Yet there is one who loved thee-and whose soul
With mild affections nature form'd to melt;
His mind hath bow'd beneath the stern control
Of many a grief-but this shall be unfelt!
Years have gone by-and given his honour'd head
A diadem of snow-his eye is dim-
Around him Heaven a solemn cloud hath spread,
The past, the future, are a dream to him!
Yet, in the darkness of his fate, alone
He dwells on earth, while thou, in life's full pride art gone!
X

The Chastener's hand is on us-we may weep,
But not repine-for many a storm hath past,
And, pillow'd on her own majestic deep,
Hath England slept, unshaken by the blast!
And War hath raged o'er many a distant plain
Trampling the vine and olive in his path;
While she, that regal daughter of the main,
Smiled, in serene defiance of his wrath!
As some proud summit, mingling with the sky,
Hears calmly far below the thunders roll and die.
XI

Her voice hath been the awakener-and her name
The gathering-word of nations-in her might,
And all the awful beauty of her fame,
Apart she dwelt, in solitary light.
High on her cliffs, alone and firm she stood,
Fixing the torch upon her beacon-tower;
That torch, whose flame, far streaming o'er the flood,
Hath guided Europe through her darkest hour.
Away, vain dreams of glory!-in the dust
Be humbled, ocean-queen! and own thy sentence just!
XII

Hark! 'twas the death bell's note! which, full and deep,
Unmix'd with aught of less majestic tone,
While all the murmurs of existence sleep,
Swell'd on the stillness of the air alone!
Silent the throngs that fill the darken'd street,
Silent the slumbering Thames, the lonely mart;
And all is still, where countless thousands meet,
Save the full throbbing of the awe-struck heart!
All deeply, strangely, fearfully serene,
As in each ravaged home the avenging one had been.
XIII

The sun goes down in beauty-his farewell,
Unlike the world he leaves, is calmly bright;
And his last mellowed rays around us dwell,
Lingering, as if on scenes of young delight.
They smile and fade-but, when the day is o'er.
What slow procession moves, with measured tread ?-
Lo! those who weep for her who weeps no more,
A solemn train-the mourners and the dead!
While, throned on high, the moon's untroubled ray
Looks down, as earthly hopes are passing thus away.
XIV

But other light is in that holy pile,
Where, in the house of silence, kings repose;
There, through the dim arcade, and pillar'd aisle,
The funeral torch its deep-red radiance throws.
There pall, and canopy, and sacred strain,
And all around the stamp of woe may bear;
But Grief, to whose full heart those forms are vain,
Grief unexpress'd, unsoothed by them-is there.
No darker hour hath Fate for him who mourns,
Than when the all he loved, as dust, to dust returns.
XV

We mourn-but not thy fate, departed One!
We pity-but the living, not the dead;
A cloud hangs o'er us- 'the bright day is done', {1}
And with a father's hopes, a nation's fled.
And he, the chosen of thy youthful breast, .
Whose soul with thine had mingled every thought;
He, with thine early fond affections blest,
Lord of a mind with all things lovely fraught;
What but a desert to his eye, that earth,
Which but retains of thee the memory of thy worth?
XVI

Oh! there are griefs for nature too intense,
Whose first rude shock but stupifies the soul;
Nor hath the fragile and o'erlabour'd sense
Strength e'en to feel, at once, their dread control.
But when 'tis past, that still and speechless hour,
Of the seal'd bosom, and the tearless eye,
Then the roused mind awakes, with tenfold-power
To grasp the fulness of its agony!
Its death-like torpor vanish'd-and its doom;
To cast its own dark hues o'er life and nature's bloom.
XVII

And such his lot, whom thou hast loved and left.
Spirit! thus early to thy home recall'd!
So sinks the heart, of hope and thee bereft,
A warrior's heart, which danger ne'er appall'd.
Years may pass on-and, as they roll along,
MeIlow those pangs which now his bosom rend;
And he once more, with life's unheeding throng,
May, though alone in soul, in seeming blend;
Yet still, the guardian-angel of his mind
Shall thy loved image dwell, in Memory's temple shrined.
XVIII

Yet must the days be long ere time shall steal
Aught from his grief whose spirit dwells with thee;
Once deeply bruised, the heart at length may heal,
But all it was-oh! never more shall be.
The flower, the leaf, o'erwhelm'd by winter snow,
Shall spring again, when beams and showers return;
The faded cheek again with health may glow,
And the dim eye with life's warm radiance burn;
But the pure freshness of the mind's young bloom,
Once lost, revives alone in worlds beyond the tomb
XIX

But thou-thine hour of agony is o'er,
And thy brief race in brilliance hath been run;
While Faith, that bids fond nature grieve no more,
TeIls that thy crown-though not on earth-is won.
Thou, of the world so early left, hast known
Naught but the bloom of sunshine-and for thee,
Child of propitious stars! for thee alone
The course of love ran smooth, and brightly free- {2}
Not long such bliss to mortal could be given,
It is enough for earth to catch one glimpse of heaven.
XX

What though, ere yet the noonday of thy fame
Rose in its glory on thine England's eye,
The grave's deep shadows o'er thy prospect came?
Ours is that loss-and thou wert blest to die!
Thou might'st have lived to dark and evil years,
To mourn thy people changed, thy skies o'ercast;
But thy spring morn was all undimm'd by tears,
And thou wert loved and cherish'd to the last!
And thy young name, ne'er breathed in ruder tone,
Thus dying, thou hast left to love and grief alone.
XXI

Daughter of Kings! from that high sphere look down,
Where still in hope, affection's thoughts may rise;
Where dimly shines to thee that mortal crown,
Which earth display'd to claim thee from the skies.
Look down! and if thy spirit yet retain
Memory of aught that once was fondly dear,
Soothe, though unseen, the hearts that mourn in vain,
And, in their hours of loneliness-be near!
Blest was thy lot e'en here-and one faint sigh,
Oh! tell those hearts, hath made that bliss eternity!

Submitted: Monday, March 26, 2012

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