To a Lady:

On her Planting Ivy Round a Ruined Church.

A lady from a distant land,1
Whose shores Atlantic billows lave,2
Once more to tread her native strand,3
Sailed o’er the western wave.4
She reached at length that ancient isle5
Of bardic fame in times gone by ;6
Renowned for many a holy pile,7
With Gothic arch, and turret high.8
Nigh where a church in ruins stood,9
Dismantled in some hapless hour,10
The lady paused in pensive mood,11
And sighed to view its time-worn tower.12
Then bringing from a neighbouring wood13
Fresh slips of ivy, gathered there,14
She set them round the walls that stood,15
And propped their trailing stems with care.16
When loudly roars the wintry storm,’17
The lady said in tender tone,18
Thy leaves shall clothe its aged form,19
Thy tendrils clasp each old gray stone.20
Above the ruins wild and hoar,21
Thy mantle thou shalt gently spread,22
And wave thy verdant banner o’er23
The silent mansions of the dead.’24
How lovely at the shrine of age25
Such tribute from the youthful hand !26
How sweet thy pious pilgrimage,27
Fair stranger, to thy fatherland !28
And whether transatlantic beams29
Shall o’er thy future footsteps shine,30
Or by thy native woods and streams31
Thy days glide on till life’s decline,32
Still memory, faithful to the past,33
Will oft recall that touching scene ;34
And fancy wreathe, while life doth last,35
Thy name with ivy—evergreen !36