Felicia Dorothea Hemans

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

The Ruin And Its Flowers


Sweets of the wild! that breathe and bloom,
On this lone tow'r, this ivy'd wall;
Lend to the gale a rich perfume,
And grace the ruin in its fall;
Tho' doom'd, remote from careless eye,
To smile, to flourish, and to die,
In solitude sublime,
Oh! ever may the spring renew,
Your balmy scent and glowing hue,
To deck the robe of time!

Breathe, fragrance! breathe, enrich the air,
Tho' wasted on its wing unknown!
Blow, flow'rets! blow, tho' vainly fair,
Neglected and alone!

These tow'rs, that long withstood the blast,
These mossy tow'rs are mouldering fast,
While Flora's children stay;
To mantle o'er the lonely pile,
To gild destruction with a smile,
And beautify decay!

Sweets of the wild! uncultur'd blowing,
Neglected in luxuriance glowing;
From the dark ruins frowning near,
Your charms in brighter tints appear,
And richer blush assume;
You smile with softer beauty crown'd,
Whilst, all is desolate around,
Like sun-shine on a tomb!

Thou hoary pile! majestic still,
Memento of departed fame!
While roving o'er the moss-clad hill,
I ponder on thine ancient name!

Here grandeur, beauty, valour, sleep,
That here, so oft have shone supreme;
While glory, honor, fancy, weep,
That vanish'd is the golden dream!

Where are the banners, waving proud,
To kiss the summer-gale of ev'n?
All purple as the morning-cloud,
All streaming to the winds of heav'n!

Where is the harp, by rapture strung,
To melting song, or martial story?
Where are the lays the minstrel sung,
To loveliness, or glory?

Lorn echo of these mouldering walls,
To thee no festal measure calls;
No music thro' the desert-halls,
Awakes thee to rejoice!

How still thy sleep! as death profound,
As if, within this lonely round,
A step-a note-a whisper'd sound,
Had ne'er arous'd thy voice!

Thou hear'st the zephyr murmuring, dying,
Thou hear'st the foliage waving, sighing;
But ne'er again shall harp, or song,
These dark, deserted courts along,
Disturb thy calm repose;
The harp is broke, the song is fled,
The voice is hush'd, the bard is dead;
And never shall thy tones repeat,
Or lofty strain, or carol sweet,
With plaintive close!

Proud castle! tho' the days are flown,
When once thy tow'rs in glory shone;
When music thro' thy turrets rung,
When banners o'er thy ramparts hung,
Tho' 'midst thine arches, frowning lone,
Stern desolation rear his throne;
And silence, deep and awful, reign,
Where echoed once the choral strain;
Yet oft, dark ruin! ling'ring here,
The muse will hail thee with a tear;
Here, when the moon-light, quiv'ring, beams,
And thro' the fringing ivy streams,
And softens ev'ry shade sublime,
And mellows ev'ry tint of time,
Oh ! here shall contemplation love,
Unseen, and undisturb'd, to rove;
And bending o'er some mossy tomb,
Where valor sleeps, or beauties bloom,
Shall weep for glory's transient day,
And grandeur's evanescent ray!
And list'ning to the swelling blast,
Shall wake the spirit of the past,
Call up the forms of ages fled,
Of warriors and of minstrels dead;
Who sought the field, who struck the lyre,
With all ambition's kindling fire!

Nor wilt thou, Spring! refuse to breathe,
Soft odours on this desert-air;
Refuse to twine thine earliest wreath,
And fringe these tow'rs with garlands fair

Sweets of the wild, oh! ever bloom,
Unheeded on this ivy'd wall!
Lend to the gale a rich perfume,
And grace the ruin in its fall!

Thus, round Misfortune's holy head,
Would Pity wreaths of honor spread;
Like you, thus blooming on this lonely pile,
She seeks despair, with heart-reviving smile!

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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