BETA

The White Slave’s Murmurs.

By Samuel Whitelocke.

Birds, happy birds, that haunt the deep green bowers,1
Well may you pour your gratitude in song ;2
Screen’d in your own bright paradise of flowers,3
That burst around you, ’ mid the golden hours,4
Which bear the gales of Araby along.5
O how I yearn to join your happy train,6
And be, like you, a denizen of air,7
To visit lands beyond the heaving main,8
And cast aside this soul-corroding chain9
Which penury has doom’d me still to wear.10
When savage winter, like a despot roams,11
With all his ruthless desolating train,12
Though he exiles you from your happy homes,13
The dewy spring, like weeping mercy, comes14
And bids you welcome to your groves again.15
Hark ! ’ tis the cuckoo, from that old birch tree,16
That tells her name, and tells it o’er and o’er ;17
Bird of the bright world ! O could I with thee18
Stretch forth my wings, and from my sorrows flee,19
Or set my feet on some more happy shore.20
Lov’d egotist, when evening stills thy note,21
And hangs her curtains round about the sky,22
The nightingale, in groves or brakes remote,23
Pours all the music of her seraph throat,24
Sweet’ning the darkness with her melody.25
Heaven’s favourite minstrel while the poet dreams,26
Thy song of gladness gushes through the groves,27
Charming the hush’d stars by the moonlit stream28
In strains as rich as their own golden gleams29
Sweet as the rapt songs of the angels’ loves.30
Would I could join thee in thy tuneful tours,31
To list thy vespers ’ mid the vines of Spain ;32
Or where Italia from her myrtle bowers33
Like fabled Flora scatters forth her flowers34
Her fruits and odours o’er her Eden plain.35
For flights of joy the swallow prunes her wings,36
The stork still journeys with the laughing sun,37
The swan revisits ail her gushing springs,38
Drinking the glorious gladness freedom brings39
Down from the throne of the Eternal One.40
But I, beneath my falling country’s doom,41
A slave and captive in my ceil must stay,42
Chained to the lingering horrors of the loom,43
Buried, while living. even in that tomb 44
Where minds and bodies moulder both away.45
For me no more the blushing morning strays46
In golden sandals o’er the hills of spring47
For me no flowers their grateful incense raise48
For me no rainbows paint their dewy rays,49
Save those the visions of my fancy bring.50
Bright angel, Hope ! soothe thou my bosom’s stings,51
Heal all the wounds adversity hath given,52
Infuse the raptures which thy whisper brings,53
Then, like the eagle on resounding wings,54
I spurn the earth, and rush with thee to heaven !55