Devotion. -- A Vision Poem by Gerald Griffin

Devotion. -- A Vision

Methought I roved on shining walks,
'Mid odorous groves and wreathed bowers.
Where, trembling on their tender stalks,
Fresh op'ning bloom'd the early flowers;
Thick hung the fruit on ev'ry bough,
In ripe profusion clust'ring mellow,
While o'er the peak'd horizon's brow,
The evening ray fell slant and yellow.

Slow pacing through the fragrant shade,
With calm majestic mien advancing,
O'erawed I saw a queenly maid,
With piercing eyes divinely glancing;
Deep wonder chain'd my rev'rent tongue,
My frame was bent with greeting lowly,
While silence o'er the garden hung,
As if the ground she trod was holy.

'And who art thou,' with eager tone,
I cried aloud, 'whose presence thrilling,
Though lately seen, and yet unknown,
Can reach the inmost springs of feeling?
And oh! what sweet secluded scene,
Here shines in rural beauty splendid;
Where summer bloom and vernal green
With ripe autumnal wealth are blended!'

With smiles that broke as sunshine bright,
Their lustre to my soul imparting,
And tones that sent a pure delight,
Delicious through my bosom darting:
'Devotion is my name,' she said,
'And thine are those delicious bowers,
From purest fountains ever fed,
And bright with undecaying flowers.

'In this sweet haunt, thy blissful life
Shall glide, like meadow streamlet flowing,
Unreach'd by sounds of demon strife,
Unknown to passion and unknowing;
For thee the fragrant airs shall rise,
For thee shall bloom those op'ning roses;
Till far beyond yon trembling skies,
Thy heart in endless peace reposes.

'Yes - thine shall be this calm retreat,
Of summer bloom and peaceful beauty;
If thou observe with prudence meet,
And watchful care, one easy duty:
'Tis but to tend yon golden lamp,
With faithful hand and spirit heeding,
From wasting airs and vapours damp,
Its pointed flame attentive feeding.

'While heav'nward thus attending bright,
In holy lustre still increasing;
Thou keep'st that pure unearthly light,
With vestal heed and care unceasing;
Sweet peace of heart shall haunt thy bower,
And safety watch unceasing near thee;
And, happy, in thy parting hour,
Celestial truth shall stoop to cheer thee.

'But if the faithless thirst of change,
Or slow consuming sloth should move thee,
Then dread those countless foes that range,
Terrific in the air above thee.
They cannot pierce this radiant sphere,
While faithful hands that flame shall cherish,
But woe to thee, if slumb'ring here,
Thou leave its saving light to perish.'

Upward I look'd with shudd'ring awe,
And in the growing gloom that bound us,
Full many a dismal shape I saw,
Slow winging in the air around us:
Grim-visaged Death, and fierce Despair,
Hard Unbelief, with aspect sneering;
And Ruin, with affrighted stare,
Disastrous through the mist appearing.

Heart-stricken at the direful sight,
Awhile I stood appall'd in spirit,
But cheer'd by that celestial light,
I took my lonely station near it:
Dissolving in the fragrant air,
No more I saw that form before me,
But by the sweetness breathing there,
I felt her influence still was o'er me.

Awhile I slept, with watchful heed,
My task of duty and of pleasure;
Exact, at noon and eve, to feed
That holy flame with ample measure;
Those smiling walks, and various flowers,
Each day I hail'd with bosom fonder,
Nor e'er beyond those happy bowers,
Indulged the idle thought to wander.

Gerald Griffin

Gerald Griffin

Limerick / Ireland
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