The Stolen Kiss.

She slept—I have seen loveliness,1
Than heavenly beauty scarcely less ;2
Beheld in every varying form3
Its glories, and they well might warm4
The blood of aged saints, long chill’d5
In hearts with holiest transports fill’d.6
I’ve seen the soft, voluptuous eye,7
I’ve felt the chastely-yielding sigh,8
The joys, of purest love I’ve known,9
And the mad hour of passion—flown ;10
The hand, whose lightest touch, thrills through11
The fever’d frame :— the changing hue,12
From, the soft tint. of conscious love,13
When virtue chastens down its fire,14
To those warm flushes, sent to prove15
Th’ unbridled wildness of desire,16
I’ve view’d—th’ enthusiast’s brow serene,17
As, full of hope, she gazed on heaven,18
And beauty’s madden’d eye, I ye seen,19
When unexpected death has riven20
Her lover from her heart away,21
And reason would no longer stay.22
These I have seen, but never yet23
Has soul in such a form been set,24
As I beheld it shining through,25
With a pure brightness, all elysian,26
While scarce my fluttering senses knew27
If all was not a waking vision !—28
She slept—’t was in a beauteous bower,29
Around which every perfumed flower30
That nature’s lavish hand could rear ;31
Shed its soft fragrance on the air,32
Which to her cheek its freshness bore33
As gently, in that slumber deep,34
As a fond mother’s breathing o’er35
Her first-born infant’s cradled sleep :36
Her clustering ringlets scarcely moved37
From her white brow—their resting-place38
So gently each light zephyr roved39
Among the beauties of her face.40
One dazzling arm a pillow made,41
On which her cheek of pink was laid ;42
And, though her eloquent eye was hid43
By its almost transparent lid ;44
Love never yet look’d so divine,45
As in that still, unconscious shrine.46
So tranquil was her bosom fair,47
The eye could see no breathing there,48
And—but that death would never spare49
The loveliness which shone50
Forth from her form that lifeless’ seem’d51
Th’ enraptured gazer might have deem’d52
The soul itself had gone,53
And left its peerless dwelling here,54
For glory in a higher sphere.55
Her lips, like two small rose-bud leaves,56
Were parted (just like hope and love,57
When hope the trusting heart deceives)58
And who could gaze, nor wish to prove59
The sweetness of the fairest flower,60
That bloum’d in that delicious bower !61
I gazed—I bent—I softly knelt62
I placed my hand upon her brow,63
And the impassion’d throb I felt,64
Is in my burning bosom now.65
I knelt—and on her brow I placed66
My hand, but not a sign I traced67
Of her returning consciousness ;68
And then I even dared to press69
But lightly, on her cheek’s pure bloom,70
And all was quiet—as the tomb !71
My burning lip to hers I brought,72
Its scarce felt breath I madd’ning caught73
They met !— oh ! it would whelm again74
This long chill’d soul and aged brain,75
Were I to dwell on that brief minute,76
And the wild rapture there was in it.77
That bow’r of fragrance long hath faded,78
And death long, long hath overshaded79
That brow of beauty, and we’ve parted,80
She, to be bless’d—I, broken-hearted !81