Felicia Dorothea Hemans
To My Eldest Brother, With The British Army In Portugal
HOW many a day, in various hues array'd,
Bright with gay sun-shine, or eclips'd with shade;
How many an hour, on silent wing is past,
O my lov'd brother! since we saw thee last!
Since then has childhood ripen'd into youth,
And Fancy's dreams have fled from sober truth;
Her splendid fabricks melting into air,
As sage Experience wav'd the wand of care!
Yet still thine absence wakes the tender sigh,
And the tear trembles in Affection's eye!
When shall me meet again? with glowing ray
Heart-soothing Hope illumes some future day;
Checks the sad thought, beguiles the starting tear,
And sings benignly still—that day is near!
She, with bright eye, and soul-bewitching voice,
Wins us to smile, inspires us to rejoice;
Tells, that the hour approaches, to restore
Our cherish'd wanderer to his home once more;
Where sacred ties his manly worth endear,
To faith still true, affection still sincere!
Then the past woes, the future's dubious lot,
In that blest meeting shall be all forgot!
And Joy's full radiance gild that sun-bright hour,
Tho' all around th' impending storm should low'r!
Now distant far, amidst th' intrepid host,
Albion's firm sons, on Lusitania's coast;
(That gallant band, in countless danger try'd,
Where Glory's pole-star beams their constant guide
Say, do thy thoughts, my brother! fondly stray
To Cambria's vales and mountains far away?
Does fancy oft in busy day-dreams roam,
And paint the greeting that awaits at home?
Does memory's pencil oft, in mellowing hue,
Dear social scenes, departed joys renew;
In softer tints delighting to retrace,
Each tender image and each well-known face?
Yes! wanderer, yes! thy spirit flies to those,
Whose love unalter'd, warm and faithful glows!
Oh! could that love, thro' life's eventful hours,
Illume thy scenes and strew thy path with flow'rs!
Perennial joy should harmonize thy breast,
No struggle rend thee, and no cares molest!
But tho' our tenderness can but bestow,
The wish, the hope, the prayer, averting woe;
Still shall it live, with pure, unclouded flame,
In storms, in sun-shine, far and near—the same!
Still dwell enthron'd within th' unvarying heart,
And firm, and vital—but with life depart!
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