Felicia Dorothea Hemans

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

The Last Wish


Go to the forest-shade,
Seek thou the well-known glade,
Where, heavy with sweet dew, the violets lie,
Gleaming thro' moss-tufts deep,
Like dark eyes fill'd with sleep,
And bath'd in hues of summer's midnight sky.

Bring me their buds, to shed
Around my dying bed,
A breath of May, and of the wood's repose;
For I in sooth depart,
With a reluctant heart,
That fain would linger where the bright sun glows.

Fain would I stay with thee–
Alas! this may not be;
Yet bring me still the gifts of happier hours!
Go where the fountain's breast
Catches in glassy rest
The dim green light that pours thro' laurel bowers.

I know how softly bright,
Steep'd in that tender light,
The water-lilies tremble there ev'n now;
Go to the pure stream's edge,
And from its whisp'ring sedge,
Bring me those flowers to cool my fever'd brow!

Then, as in Hope's young days,
Track thou the antique maze
Of the rich garden to its grassy mound;
There is a lone white rose,
Shedding, in sudden snows,
Its faint leaves o'er the emerald turf around.

Well know'st thou that fair tree–
A murmur of the bee
Dwells ever in the honey'd lime above;
Bring me one pearly flower
Of all its clustering shower–
For on that spot we first reveal'd our love.

Gather one woodbine bough,
Then, from the lattice low
Of the bower'd cottage which I bade thee mark,
When by the hamlet last,
Thro' dim wood-lanes we pass'd,
While dews were glancing to the glowworm's spark.

Haste! to my pillow bear
Those fragrant things and fair;
My hand no more may bind them up at eve,
Yet shall their odour soft
One bright dream round me waft
Of life, youth, summer,–all that I must leave!

And oh! if thou wouldst ask
Wherefore thy steps I task,
The grove, the stream, the hamlet-vale to trace;
'Tis that some thought of me,
When I am gone, may be
The spirit bound to each familiar place.

I bid mine image dwell,
(Oh! break not thou the spell!)
In the deep wood and by the fountain-side;
Thou must not, my belov'd!
Rove where we two have rov'd,
Forgetting her that in her spring-time died!

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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