The Death of the Dove.

Aloft on buoyant wing the ring-dove flew,1
To breathe the purer fragrance of the skies ;2
From her soft plumes she shakes the glitt’ring dew3
As on her heav’nward way her course she plies.4
Before her, rising from the eastern main,5
The sun bursts forth to glad this slumb’ring earth,6
The chill night mists, which shroud the darken’d plain,7
Melt into light at morn’s auspicious birth.8
Bright glows the azure canopy above,9
Whilst joy is echoed from ten thousand throats,10
All nature joins in one sweet song of love,11
Which through the air in liquid numbers floats.12
The bird, unfetter’d now, pursues her flight13
Beyond the sphere of man’s tyrannic sway,14
Basks in the glories of unclouded light,15
And quaffs new raptures from the fount of day.16
Ah! little deem’d she of destruction nigh17
Her light heart flutter’d, free from ev’ry fear ;18
But peril mark’d her, as she soar’d on high,19
And sternly stopt her innocent career.20
The spoiler track’d her, as she traced her way21
Below the gliding clouds, on lightsome wing ;22
And, like a tiger darting on his prey,23
At “ one fell swoop” struck down the tender thing.24
Beneath his savage might the gentle dove,25
Her plumes besprent with gore, now flutt’ring lies,26
No more in fearless flight to soar above,27
And coo her notes of welcome to the skies.28
Her closing eye proclaims the lapse of life29
In rapid sobs escapes the fleeting breath ;30
What shall avail, in that unequal strife,31
To save his victim from the grasp of death !32
Thus innocence, to savage pow’r a prey,33
Yields to its deadly yoke her tender form,34
Like a meek snow-drop, when the god of day35
Hides his bright head beneath the boreal storm.36
How danger, like the coiling adder, lurks37
And follows in our track where’er we go !38
Around us her insidious mischief works,39
And fills a lovely world with bale and wo.40
Victim of tyranny! thou never more41
Shalt hover o’er thy young to guard their rest ;42
In vain thy mate on searching wing shall soar43
To meet the tender partner of his nest.44
The gentle Laura mark’d her fav’rite’s fate,45
And rush’d to save her from the talon’d foe :46
She rush’d to save—but ’twas, alas! too late47
The ruthless hawk had dealt the fatal blow.48
Still o’er the dove the gory savage flew,49
Reluctant to resign his bleeding prey,50
And scarcely all the weeping girl could do51
Avail’d to scare the hungry hawk away.52
She placed upon her breast the dying bird,53
As if its warmth could ebbing life renew.54
Still beat its little heart, though faintly stirr’d,55
Whilst less and less the igi pulsation grew.56
It died upon her bosom, and the tear57
Fell, fast and sparkling, o’er her fav’rite, dead :58
But as she mark’d the falcon hov’ring near,59
The flush of wrath her glowing cheeks o’erspread.60
He flew around, in mockery of her sighs61
He heeded not the child’s indignant tears.62
Sweet girl !  ’tis vain—nay, dry those streaming eyes,63
And learn a moral for thy future years.64
It is, alas !  the certain fate of all,65
To quit earth’s scenes and mingle with its dust !66
thy poor dove has fall’n, so thou must fall,67
As all the seed of Adam surely must.68
Kingdoms must perish, empires must decay,69
Princes and slaves alike resign their breath ;70
Whilst ev’ry grade of life confirms his sway,71
All nature owns the sov’reign rule of death,72
This glorious world too shall at length expire,73
When rampant Ruin o’er the wreck will smile,74
And whilst its mighty frame is wrapt in fire,75
Death shall excite the blazing fun’ral pile.76
But, though omnipotent o’er all in time,77
Still in eternity his pow’r shall cease ;78
There life ’s perennial, and the cloudless clime79
Glows with the sunshine of eternal peace.80