Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

(20 April 1826 - 12 October 1887 / Stoke-on-Trent / England)

Leonora - Poem by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

LEONORA, Leonora,
How the word rolls--Leonora--
Lion-like, in full-mouthed sound,
Marching o'er the metric ground
With a tawny tread sublime--
So your name moves, Leonora,
Down my desert rhyme.

So you pace, young Leonora,
Through the alleys of the wood,
Head erect, majestic, tall,
The fit daughter of the Hall:
Yet with hazel eyes declined,
And a voice like summer wind,
And a meek mouth, sweet and good,
Dimpling ever, Leonora,
In fair womanhood.

How those smiles dance, Leonora,
As you meet the pleasant breeze
Under your ancestral trees:
For your heart is free and pure
As this blue March sky o'erhead,
And in the life-path you tread,
All the leaves are budding, sure,
All the primroses are springing,
All the birds begin their singing--
'T is your spring-time, Leonora,
May it long endure.

But it will pass, Leonora:
And the silent days must fall
When a change comes over all:
When the last leaf downward flitters,
And the last, last sunbeam glitters
On the terraced hillside cool,
On the peacocks by the pool:
When you'll walk along these alleys
With no lightsome foot that dallies
With the violets and the moss,--
But with quiet steps and slow,
And grave eyes that earthward grow,
And a matron-heart inured
To all women have endured,--
Must endure and ever will,
All the joy and all the ill,
All the gain and all the loss--
Can you cheerfully lay down
Careless girlhood's flowery crown,
And thus take up, Leonora,
Womanhood's meek cross?

Ay! your eyes shine, Leonora,
Warm, and true, and brave, and kind:
And although I nothing know
Of the maiden heart below,
I in them good omens find.
Go, enjoy your present hours
Like the birds and bees and flowers:
And may summer days bestow
On you just so much of rain,
Blessed baptism of pain!
As will make your blossoms grow.
May you walk, as through life's road
Every noble woman can,--
With a pure heart before God,
And a true heart unto man:
Till with this same smile you wait
For the opening of the Gate
That shuts earth from mortal eyes;
Till at last, with peaceful heart,
All contented to depart,
Leaving children's children playing
In these woods you used to stray in,
You may enter, Leonora,
Into Paradise.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010



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