Letitia Elizabeth Landon

(1802-1838 / England)

The Oriental Nosegay. By Pickersgill


THROUGH the light curtains came the perfumed air,
And flung them back and show'd a garden, where
The eye could just catch glimpses of those trees
Which send sweet messages upon the breeze
To lull a maiden's sleep, and fan her cheek,
When inward thoughts in outward blushes speak.
Bequeath's a silken couch, just fit to be
A snowy shrine for some fair deity;
And there a beauty rests, lovely as those
Enchanted visions haunting the repose
Of the young poet, when his eyelids shut
To dream that love they have but dream'd as yet;--
But dream'd! Alas, that love should ever be
A happiness but made for phantasie!
And flowers are by her side, and her dark eye
Seems as it read in them her destiny.
She knew whose hand had gather'd them, she knew
Whose sigh and touch were on their scent and hue.

Beautiful language! Love's peculiar, own,
But only to the spring and summer known.
Ah! little marvel in such clime and age
As that of our too earth-bound pilgrimage,
That we should daily hear that love is fled,
And hope grown pale, and lighted feelings dead.

Not for the cold, the careless to impart,
By such sweet signs, the silence of the heart:
But surely in the countries where the sun
Lights loveliness in all he shines upon,--
Where love is as a mystery and a dream,
One single flower upon life's troubled stream;
There, there, perchance, may the young bosom thrill,
Feeling and fancy linger with love still.

She look'd upon the blossoms, and a smile,
A twilight one, lit up her lip the while.
Surely her love is blest, no leaves are there
That aught of lover's misery declare.
True, 'mid them is that pale and pining flower,
Whose dim blue colour speaks an absent hour;
Yet it is nothing but that tender sorrow
Of those who part to-day to meet to-morrow:

For there are hope and constancy beside,
And are not these to happiness allied;
And yet upon that maiden's cheek is caught
A summer evening's shade of pensive thought,
As if these large soft eyes knew all their fate,
How the heart would its destiny create,--
At once too tender, and too passionate;--
Too made for happiness to be happy here,
An angel fetter'd to an earthly sphere.--
And those dark eyes, so large, so soft, so bright,
So clear as if their very tears were light;
They tell that destiny, art thou not one
To whom love will be like the summer sun
That feeds the diamond in the secret mine,
Then calls it from its solitude to shine,
And piece by piece be broken. Watch the bloom,
And mark its fading to an early tomb,
And read in the decay upon it stealing
Of thy own wasted hope and wither'd feeling,--
Ay, fitting messengers for love! as fair,
As quickly past as his own visions are;--
Fling, fling the flowers away!

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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