Felicia Dorothea Hemans

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

To My Mother


IF e'er for human bliss or woe
I feel the sympathetic glow;
If e'er my heart has learn'd to know
The gen'rous wish or pray'r;
Who sow'd the germ, with tender hand?
Who mark'd its infant-leaves expand?
My mother's fost'ring care.

And if one flow'r of charms refin'd
May grace the garden of my mind;
'Twas she who nurs'd it there:
She lov'd to cherish and adorn
Each blossom of the soil;
To banish ev'ry weed and thorn,
That oft oppos'd her toil!

And, oh! if e'er I've sigh'd to claim
The palm, the living palm of fame,
The glowing wreath of praise;
If e'er I've wish'd the glitt'ring stores,
That fortune on her fav'rite pours;
'Twas but, that wealth and fame, if mine,
Round thee, with streaming rays might shine,
And gild thy sun-bright days!

Yet not that splendor, pomp, and pow'r,
Might then irradiate ev'ry hour;
For these, my mother! well I know,
On thee no raptures could bestow;
But could thy bounty, warm and kind,
Be, like thy wishes, unconfin'd;
And fall, as manna from the skies,
And bid a train of blessings rise,
Diffusing joy and peace;
The tear-drop, grateful, pure and bright,
For thee would beam with softer light,

Than all the diamond's crystal rays,
Than all the emerald's lucid blaze;
And joys of heav'n would thrill thy heart,
To bid one bosom-grief depart,
One tear, one sorrow cease!

Then, oh! may heav'n, that loves to bless,
Bestow the pow'r to cheer distress;
Make thee its minister below,
To light the cloudy path of woe;
To visit the deserted cell,
Where indigence is doom'd to dwell;
To raise, when drooping to the earth,
The blossoms of neglected worth;
And round, with lib'ral hand dispense,
The sunshine of beneficence!

But, ah! if fate should still deny
Delights like these, too rich and high;

If grief and pain thy steps assail,
In life's remote and wintry vale;
Then, as the wild Eolian lyre,
Complains with soft, entrancing number,
When the loud storm awakes the wire,
And bids enchantment cease to slumber;
So filial love, with soothing voice,
E'en then, shall teach thee to rejoice;
E'en then, shall sweeter, milder sound,
When sorrow's tempest raves around;
While dark misfortune's gales destroy,
The frail, mimosa-buds of hope and joy!

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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