To A Lady

Reading “ The Prisoner of Chillon” in preference to “ Childe Harold.


By calm Reflection’s cold, undazzled eye,1
How clear the Power, all-beautiful, is seen2
Which prompts thee o’er that page instinctively,3
As leans the lily to the light, to lean !4


’Tis fill’d with breathings of all-deep affections5
Love strong as death—Hope’s fervour kindling free6
And the sweet bond of household recollections ;7
And are not these—all these—Bright One, for thee ?8


No marvel that the Pilgrim’s moody strain9
Made but dull music to thy dancing years10
Rear’d with the Rose !— thy fresh heart’s heaviest rain11
Is transient as thy fragrant sister’s tears.12


What should’st thou with the taleworn Passion traced13
With the green earth around, and morning o’er thee ?14
Joy at thy feet—along that flowery waste15
Waiting to strike his cymbals on before thee.16


No, lady—leave lost Harold’s page to those17
Whose Hopes have died to rise in Memories18
Who, like him, drain’d Life’s lavish cup of woes,19
And pour’d their molten feelings forth to freeze.20


To such, it is a manual set apart21
The scriptures of the sear’d and wounded soul22
Teaching the mournful Hermits of the Heart23
A lore beyond vain Science’s control.24


There the long-loving, but unloved, may learn25
To make their Pride a friend, and smile at pain;26
What if they fly from all for which they yearn,27
They shun one shaft—to be deceived again !28


Theirs is the torpor of existence—still29
It is, at least, repose; o’er which can shine30
No wakening ray, save when, with feeblest skill,31
They fling song’s garlands round such steps as thine.32