Felicia Dorothea Hemans

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

The Grave Of A Poetess


I stood beside thy lowly grave;
Spring-odours breath'd around,
And music, in the river-wave,
Pass'd with a lulling sound.

All happy things that love the sun,
In the bright air glanc'd by,
And a glad murmur seem'd to run
Thro' the soft azure sky.

Fresh leaves were on the ivy-bough
That fring'd the ruins near;
Young voices were abroad–but thou
Their sweetness couldst not hear.

And mournful grew my heart for thee,
Thou in whose woman's mind
The ray that brightens earth and sea,
The light of song was shrined.

Mournful, that thou wert slumbering low,
With a dread curtain drawn
Between thee and the golden glow
Of this world's vernal dawn.

Parted from all the song and bloom
Thou wouldst have lov'd so well,
To thee the sunshine round thy tomb
Was but a broken spell.

The bird, the insect on the wing,
In their bright reckless play,
Might feel the flush and life of spring,–
And thou wert pass'd away!

But then, ev'n then, a nobler thought
O'er my vain sadness came;
Th' immortal spirit woke, and wrought
Within my thrilling frame.

Surely on lovelier things, I said,
Thou must have look'd ere now,
Than all that round our pathway shed
Odours and hues below.

The shadows of the tomb are here,
Yet beautiful is earth!
What see'st thou then where no dim fear,
No haunting dream hath birth?

Here a vain love to passing flowers
Thou gav'st–but where thou art,
The sway is not with changeful hours,
There love and death must part.

Thou hast left sorrow in thy song,
A voice not loud, but deep!
The glorious bowers of earth among,
How often didst thou weep!

Where couldst thou fix on mortal ground
Thy tender thoughts and high?–
Now peace the woman's heart hath found,
And joy the poet's eye.

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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