Felicia Dorothea Hemans

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

Ulla, Or The Adjuration


'Thou'rt gone!–thou'rt slumb'ring low,
With the sounding seas above thee;
It is but a restless wo,
But a haunting dream to love thee!
Thrice the glad swan has sung,
To greet the spring-time hours,
Since thine oar at parting flung
The white spray up in showers.

There's a shadow of the grave on thy hearth and round thy home;
Come to me from the ocean's dead!–thou'rt surely of them–come!'

'Twas Ulla's voice–alone she stood
In the Iceland summer night,
Far gazing o'er a glassy flood,
From a dark rock's beetling height.

'I know thou hast thy bed
Where the sea-weed's coil hath bound thee;
The storm sweeps o'er thy head,
But the depths are hush'd around thee.
What wind shall point the way
To the chambers where thou'rt lying?
Come to me thence, and say
If thou thought'st on me in dying?

I will not shrink to see thee with a bloodless lip and cheek–
Come to me from the ocean's dead!–thou'rt surely of them–speak!'

She listen'd–'twas the wind's low moan,
'Twas the ripple of the wave,
'Twas the wakening osprey's cry alone,
As it started from its cave.

'I know each fearful spell
Of the ancient Runic lay,
Whose mutter'd words compel
The tempest to obey.
But I adjure not thee
By magic sign or song,
My voice shall stir the sea
By love,–the deep, the strong!

By the might of woman's tears, by the passion of her sighs,
Come to me from the ocean's dead!–by the vows we pledg'd–arise!'

Again she gazed with an eager glance,
Wandering and wildly bright;–
She saw but the sparkling waters dance
To the arrowy northern light.

'By the slow and struggling death
Of hope that loath'd to part,
By the fierce and withering breath
Of despair on youth's high heart;
By the weight of gloom which clings
To the mantle of the night,
By the heavy dawn which brings
Nought lovely to the sight,

By all that from my weary soul thou hast wrung of grief and fear,
Come to me from the ocean's dead–awake, arise, appear!'

Was it her yearning spirit's dream,
Or did a pale form rise,
And o'er the hush'd wave glide and gleam,
With bright, still, mournful eyes?

'Have the depths heard?–they have!
My voice prevails–thou'rt there,
Dim from thy watery grave,
Oh! thou that wert so fair!
Yet take me to thy rest!
There dwells no fear with love;
Let me slumber on thy breast,
While the billow rolls above!

Where the long-lost things lie hid, where the bright ones have their home,
We will sleep among the ocean's dead–stay for me, stay!–I come!'

There was a sullen plunge below,
A flashing on the main,
And the wave shut o'er that wild heart's wo,
Shut,–and grew still again.

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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