Ah, no ! alas—it cannot be !1
’Tis inspiration, ’tis not art ;2
Alone the stream of poesy,3
Can flow but from the heart.4
I once could feel what once I sung5
All wildly then my numbers rung6
To one beloved theme ;7
My soul portray’d in boyish lays8
The vision of my earlier days,9
I woke—’twas but a dream.10
Yet would I dream it o’er again,11
And from the times gone by,12
Recall the pleasure with the pain,13
And drain the goblet dry.14
The soul’s intoxication ’s flown,15
The virtue from the draught hath gone,16
As water from the spring.17
My thirst is slak’d, but to the heart18
Nor joy, nor grief it can impart,19
Or new excitement bring.20
Yet, lady ! if the ice and snow21
Of Nova-Zembla’s clime22
Forbid the stream of life to flow,23
’Twould melt ’neath eyes like thine.24
The coldest heart ashamed would be25
To own the stern philosophy26
Thy beauty fail’d to fire ;27
And more than stoic were the Muse,28
Who, at thy bidding, could refuse29
To tune again his lyre.30
And who could gaze upon that face,—31
That mouth on which a smile still lingers ;32
That rounded arm, whose perfect grace33
Might rival e’en those lily fingers ?34
Nor gazing own that form and mien35
Might well adorn an Eastern queen,36
Or seem to Moslem’s eyes,37
Some bright-ey’d Houri sent to show,38
To longing mortals here below,39
The joys of Paradise.40
And said I, that I could forget41
What once I felt, what once I sung ;42
There is a chord unbroken yet,43
A harp not all unstrung.44
Beauty like thine exalts the soul,45
Beyond the limits and controul46
Of doubt and care combin’d ;47
Stampt on that form, as angels fair,48
Those speaking glances picture there,49
A pure and virtuous mind.50
All radiant as before me now51
Long may that beauty last ;52
Unruffl’d be that placid brow53
By time’s destroying blast.54
And may the powers who watch above,55
And deign to smile on earthly love,56
One perfect model spare,57
To show the nations of the earth,58
Exulting in degenerate birth,59
What once her daughters were.60