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To be the theme of every hour
The heart devotes to fancy's power,
When her soft magic fills the mind
With friends and joys we've left behind.
And joys return and friends are near,
And all are welcomed with a tear!
In the mind's purest seat to dwell,
To be remembered ost and well
By one whose heart, though vain and wild,
By passion led, by youth beguiled,
Can proudly still aspire to know
The feeling soul's divinest glow!
If thus to live in every part
Of a lone weary wanderer's heart;
If thus to be its sole employ
Can give thee one faint gleam of joy,
Believe it, Mary! oh, believe
A tongue that never can deceive,
When passion doth not first betray
And tinge the thought upon its way!
In pleasure's dream or sorrow's hour,
In crowded hall or lonely bower,
The business of my life shall be
For ever to remember thee!
And though that heart be dead to mine,
Since love is life and wakes not thine,
I'll take thy image, as the form
Of something I should long to warm,
Which, though it yield no answering thrill.
Is not less dear, is lovely still !
I'll take it, wheresoe'er I stray,
The bright, cold burthen of my way!
To keep this semblance fresh in bloom.
My heart shall be its glowing tomb,
And Love shall lend his sweetest care.
With memory to embalm it there!
TAKE back the sigh thy lips of art
In passion's moment breathed to me;
Yet no--it must not, will not part ;
'Tis now the life-breath of my heart,
And has become too pure for thee !
Take back the kiss, that faithless sigh
With all the warmth of truth impressed :
Yet no--the fatal kiss may lie,
Upon thy lip its sweets would die,
Or bloom to make a rival blest !
Take back the vows that, night and day,
My heart received, I thought, from thine;
Yet no-allow them still to stay,
They might some other heart betray
As sweetly as they've ruined mine!
THE LAKE OF THE DISMAL SWAMP.
Written at Norfolk, in Virginia. “ They tell of a young man who lost his mind upon the death of a girl he loved, and who, suddenly disappearing from his friends, was never afterwards heard of. As he had frequently said, in his ravings, that the girl was not dead, but gone to the Dismal Swamp, it issupposed he had wandered into that dreary wilderness, and died of hunger, or been lost in some of its dreadful morasses. -Anon. La Poésie a ses monstres comme la Nature.--D'Alembert.
“They made her a grave, too cold and damp
For a soul so warm and true;
And she's gone to the Lake of the Dismal Swamp, *
Where, all night long, by a fire-fly lamp,
She paddles her white canoe.
“ And her fire-fly lamp I soon shall see,
And her paddle I soon shall hear;
Long and loving our life shall be,
And I'll hide the maid in a cypress tree,
When the footstep of Death is near!”
Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds-
His path was rugged and sore,
Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds,
Through many a fen, where the serpent feeds
And man never trode before !
• The Great Dismal Swamp is ten or twelve miles distant from Norfolk, and the lake in the middle of it (about seven miles long) is called Drummond's Pond.
And, when on the earth he sunk to sleep,
If slumber his eyelids knew,
He lay where the deadly vine doth weep
Its venomous tear, and nightly steep
The flesh with blistering dew!
And near him the she-wolf stirred the brake,
And the copper-snake breathed in his ear,
Till he starting cried, from his dream awake,
“Oh! when shall I see the dusky Lake,
And the white canoe of my dear?"
He saw the Lake, and a meteor bright
Quick over its surface played --
"Welcome,” he said, “ my dear one's light!”
And the dim shore echoed, for many a night,
The name of the death-cold maid !
Till he hollowed a boat of the birchen bark,
Which carried him off from shore;
Far he followed the meteor spark,
The wind was high and the clouds were dark,
And the boat returned no more.
But oft, from the Indian hunter's camp
This lover and maid so truc
Are seen at the hour of midnight damp,
To cross the Lake by a fire-lly lamp,
And paddle their white canoe !
MARCHIONESS DOWAGER OF DONEGALL.
From Bermuda, January 1804.
LADY! where'er you roam, whatever beam
Cf bright creation warms your mimic dream ;
Whether you trace the valley's golden meads
Where mazy Linth his lirigering current leads :*
Enamoured catch the mellow hues that sleep,
At eve, on Meillerie's immortal steep;
Or musing o'er the Lake, at day's decline,
Mark the last shadow on the holy shrine +
Where, many a night, the soul of Tell complains
Of Gallia's triumph and Helvetia's chains ;
Oh! lay the pencil for a moment by,
Turn from the tablet that creative eye,
And let its splendour, like the morning ray
l'pon a shepherd's harp, illume my lay!
Lady D., I supposed, was at this time still in Switzerland, where the powers of her pencil must have been frequently awakened.
† The chapel of Walliain Tell on the Lake of Lucerne.
Yet, Ladv, no !—for song so rude as mine,
Chase not the wonders of your dream divins ;
Still, radiant eye' upon the tablet dwell;
Still, rosy finger! weave your pictured speil;
And, while I sing the animated smiles
Of fairy nature in these sun-born isles,
Oh! might the song awake some bright design,
Inspire a touch, or prompt one happy line,
Proud were my soul to see its humble thought
On painting's mirror so divinely caught,
And wondering Genius, as he leaned to trace
The faint conception kindling into grace,
Might love my numbers for the spark they throw,
And bless the lay that lent a charm to you !
Have you not oft, in nightly vision, strayer
To the pure isles of ever-blooming shade
Which bards of old, with kindly magic, placed
For happy spirits in th' Atlantic waste?
There as eternal gales, with fragrance warm,
Breathed from elysium through each shadowy form
In eloquence of eye, and dreams of song,
They charmed their lapse of nightless hours along :
Nor yet in song that mortal ear may suit,
For every spirit was itself a lute,
Where virtue wakened, with elysian breeze,
Pure tones of thought and mental harmonies !
Believe me, Lady, when the zephyrs bland
Floated our bark to this enchanted land,
These leafy isles upon the occan thrown,
Like studs of emerald o'er a silver zone;
Not all the charm that ethnic fancy gave
To blessed arbours o'er the western wave
Could wake a dream more soothing or sublime
Of bowers ethereal and the spirit's clime!
The morn was lovely, every wave was still,
When the first perfume of a cedar-hill
Sweetly awaked us, and with smiling charms,
The fairy harbour wooed us to its arms.
Gently we stole, before the languid wind,
Through plantain shades that like an awning twinec
And kissed on either side the wanton sails,
Breathing our welcome to these vernal vales ;
While, far reflected o'er the wave serene,
Each wooded island shed so sost a green
* Nothing can be more romantic than the little harbour of St. George's. The number of beautiful islets, the singular clearness of the water, and the animate i play of the graceful little boats, gliding for ever between the islands, and seeming to sail from one cedar-grove into another, form all together the sweetest miniature of nature that can be imagined.
That the enamoured keel, with whispering play,
Through liquid herbage seemed to steal its way!
Never did weary bark more sweetly glide,
Or rest its anchor in a lovelier tide!
Along the margin, many a brilliant dome,
White as the palace of a Lapland gnome,
Brightened the wave ; in every myrtle grove,
Secluded bashful, like a shrine of love,
Some elfin mansion sparkled through the shade.
And, while the foliage interposing played,
Wreathing the structure into various grace,
Fancy would love, in many a form, to trace
The flowery capital, the shaft, the porch,
And dream of temples, till her kindling torch
Lighted me back to all the glorious days
Of Attic genius; and I seemed to gaze
On marble, from the rich Pentelic mount,
Gracing the umbrage of some Naiad's fount.
Sweet airy being ! + who, in brighter hours,
Lived on the perfume of these honeyed bowers,
In velvet buds, at evening, loved to lie,
And win with music every rose's sigh!
Though weak the magic of my humble strain
To charm your spirit from its orb again,
Yet oh! for her beneath whose smile I sing,
For her (whose pencil, if your rainbow wing
Were dimmed or ruffled by a wintry sky,
Could smooth its feather and relume its dye,)
A moment wander from your starry sphere,
And if the lime-tree grove that once was dear,
The sunny wave, the bower, the breezy hill,
The sparkling grotto, can delight you still,
Oh! take their fairest tint, their softest light,
Weave all their beauty into dreams of night,
And, while the lovely artist slumbering lies,
Shed the warm picture o'er her mental eyes;
Borrow for sleep her own creative spells,
And brightly show what song but faintly tells !
* This is an allusion which, to the few who are fanciful enough to indulge in it, renders the scenery of Bermuda particularly interesting. In the short but beautiful twilight of their spring evenings, the white cottages scattered over the islands, and but partially seen through the trees that surround them, assume often the appearance of little Grecian temples, and fancy may embellish the poor fisherman's hut with columns which the pencil of Claude might imitate. I had one favourite object of this kind in my walks, which the hospitality of its owner robbed me of by asking me to visit him. He was a plain good man, and received me well and warmly ; but I never could turn his house into a Grecian temple again.
† Ariel. Among the many charms which Bermuda has for a poetic eye, we cannot for an instant forget that it is the scene of Shakspeare's "Tempest,' and that here he conjured up the “delicate Ariel,” who alone is worth the whole heaven of ancient mythology,