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Thomas Hood

(1789-1845 / London / England)

To Hope


Oh! take, young Seraph, take thy harp,
And play to me so cheerily;
For grief is dark, and care is sharp,
And life wears on so wearily.
Oh! take thy harp!
Oh! sing as thou wert wont to do,
When, all youth's sunny season long,
I sat and listened to thy song,
And yet 'twas ever, ever new,
With magic in its heaven-tuned string—
The future bliss thy constant theme.
Oh! then each little woe took wing
Away, like phantoms of a dream;
As if each sound
That flutter'd round,
Had floated over Lethe's stream!
By all those bright and happy hours
We spent in life's sweet eastern bow'rs,
Where thou wouldst sit and smile, and show,
Ere buds were come, where flowers would blow,
And oft anticipate the rise
Of life's warm sun that scaled the skies;
By many a story of love and glory,
And friendships promised oft to me;
By all the faith I lent to thee,—
Oh! take, young Seraph, take thy harp,
And play to me so cheerily;
For grief is dark, and care is sharp,
And life wears on so wearily.
Oh! take thy harp!
Perchance the strings will sound less clear,
That long have lain neglected by
In sorrow's misty atmosphere;
It ne'er may speak as it hath spoken
Such joyous notes so brisk and high;
But are its golden chords all broken?
Are there not some, though weak and low,
To play a lullaby to woe?
But thou canst sing of love no more,
For Celia show'd that dream was vain;
And many a fancied bliss is o'er,
That comes not e'en in dreams again.
Alas! alas!
How pleasures pass,
And leave thee now no subject, save
The peace and bliss beyond the grave!
Then be thy flight among the skies:
Take, then, oh! take the skylark's wing,
And leave dull earth, and heavenward rise
O'er all its tearful clouds, and sing
On skylark's wing!
Another life-spring there adorns
Another youth—without the dread
Of cruel care, whose crown of thorns
Is here for manhood's aching head.
Oh! there are realms of welcome day,
A world where tears are wiped away!
Then be thy flight among the skies:
Take, then, oh! take the skylark's wing,
And leave dull earth, and heavenward rise
O'er all its tearful clouds, and sing
On skylark's wing!

Submitted: Monday, April 05, 2010

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