Collected Poems of Henry Derozio: Preface by Manu Samriti Chander; Edited by Amardeep Singh


   A history of passion ;—and like all 
   That Love has part in, full of hope, and fear, 
   And cold despair, and madness, which at last 
   Destroy the heart and brain that once they seize. 

   Lady! my bark is floating by, 
And the moonbeam is soft as thine own blue eye; 
And the breeze that breathes is fresh and light 
O'er the waves that dance in the moonbeam bright! 
Lady ! Lady! there is not a sail 
On our sweet blue lake to court the gale; 
In vain the waves inviting curl, 
But come with me, and my sail I'll unfurl. 
Lady! Lady! my harp I've brought 
To still the pangs of intrusive thought; 
My harp is strung, and I'll wake it for thee, 
Then come! O come! to my bark with me! 

   She looked from out the lattice high— 
She heard him—but without reply— 
The moon shone on her forehead fair, 
The breeze flung back her golden hair; 
She sweetly smiled;—as if love's hours 
Gave nothing to the heart but flowers, 
And joy, and sunshine, and such things 
As live in bards' imaginings: 
'Tis well it is so—who could bear 
Love's sorrow, madness, and despair, 
Were not some dear delusion given 
Before the heart is lost, and riven? 

   And now she soon was by his side; 
Her young heart beat in Love's own pride 
To know herself beloved, and know 
Her lot was shared, through weal or woe! 
'Tis something when the soul's opprest 
To fly unto its place of rest, 
To know one heart its griefs will share, 
And with it break, or with it bear! 
They lightly stepped into the bark,— 
'Twas fragile—just like Love's own ark; 
The sail was set, the boat did glide 
Like a fairy gift on the trembling tide; 
The breeze was fair, and the shallop rode 
Like a spirit bound for a blest abode. 

   Ada hath left her father's hall, 
Her mother, sister, kindred,—all 
The scenes of earliest infancy, 
Where that hath been which ne'er may be 
In after years, perchance, again— 
Sweet pleasure, unalloyed with pain! 
Tis ever so ;—the heart forgets 
All,—but the one on whom it sets 
Its thoughts—and when that one is gone, 
Alas! 'tis withered, lifeless, lone!

   Moon on moon hath rolled away 
Like wave on wave in a summer's day. 
Joy on joy comes smilingly, 
And Ada is blest as woman may be; 
No thought of the past, no care for the morrow, 
Without a tear, and without a sorrow, 
Her days glide on in the bright green isle 
That gems the lake, and doth sweetly smile 
With flowers that there are blossoming, 
As if it were eternal spring! 
The palm trees tall have formed a grove, 
A fit retreat for youthful love! 
A hallowed spot for young delight, 
Like Love's first dream, all fair and bright, 
Where every boon that might be given 
Was here bestowed by favouring heaven, 
And where we might be blessed, and bless— 
As if 'twere made for happiness !— 
'Twas beautiful!—The lake's blue wave 
That girt the island, and did lave 
It's banks, flowed making music o'er 
The pebbles that lay on the shore.— 
'Twas sweet to list the lark's wild song, 
And watch the wave as it rolled along; 
'Twas sweet to see the broad sun set, 
When his beams and the waters kissed and met, 
But sweeter than all it was to see 
Ada as blest as woman may be. 

   Why is life made of thorns and flowers, 
Of clouds and sunshine, light and showers? 
Might not our days serenely flow 
Like dreams of joy, unmixt with woe? 
Why do our hopes all perish young, 
Like flowers before the wreath is strung? — 
It boots not, chance and change must be, 
With all the weight of misery. 

   Moon on moon hath rolled away; 
The scene is changed ; a darker day 
Hath shrouded Ada's hours of bliss; 
This is Love's youthful dream ; and this 
Is what it must be.—-Far, O! far 
Her lover joins the ranks of war: 
Alas! that for the breath of fame, 
A bed of death, an empty name, 
Without a thought, without a fear, 
We part from all that is most dear. 
'Tis strange—but this is life : the call 
Of trumpets makes a desert hall; 
The tear-drops in an orphan's eye, 
And many a widow's maddening sigh, 
May tell the history of the brave— 
A verse, a garland, and a grave! 

St. Monan's bells are ringing, 
   No sun shines on its cross, 
The vesper hymn is singing, 
   And dew is on the moss; 
It is that hour when dusky night 
Comes gathering o'er departing light, 
When hue by hue, and ray by ray, 
Thine eye may watch it waste away, 
Until thou canst no more behold 
The faded tints of pallid gold. 
And soft descend the shades of night, 
As die those hues so purely bright; 
And in the blue sky, star by star, 
Shines out, like happiness, afar 
A wilderness of worlds! To dwell 
In one, with those we have loved well 
Were bliss indeed! The waters flow 
Gurgling, in darkest hue below, 
And 'gainst the shore the ripple breaks 
As from its cave the west wind wakes; 
But lo! where Dian's crest on high appears, 
Faint as the memory of departed years. 

   Fancy in fiction bright may draw 
Such beauty as the world ne'er saw; 
Dark, raven tresses, and small feet 
Whiter than purest winter sleet; 
The cheek where love hath made his rest, 
And fair as ocean-gem the breast; 
Lips, like the coral tufts that curl 
Around rich Stumboul's purest pearl; 
And eyes, whose glance of witchery 
Sparkles like sunshine on the sea. 
But who could gaze on Ada's eye, 
Nor weep to think, its light must die? 
O! who could mark her fairy form, 
Nor feel his heart with rapture warm? 
As guileless as a mountain deer, 
As soft as infant cherub's tear, 
As lovely as those rosy dyes 
Which tinge, at eve, the western skies, 
And lively as the lark that sings 
His carol sweet on morning's wings: 
Yet not her winning looks alone, 
Her sunny smile, or eye that shone, 
Struck the rapt gazer—but that nameless grace, 
That hallowed spell, that beam which lit her face, 
And played around her'brightly:—she moved here 
Like a high being of a higher sphere! 

   But ah ! her heart no longer's light, 
And in her eye the tear is bright, 
Like dew on violets by night. 
Now, o'er the lake, when day-light dies, 
She casts her anxious, tear-dimm'd eyes: 
Perchance she might descry afar
Her hero speeding, like a star 
That never in its course can err, 
A star of love and life to her! 
And there her watch of woe she keeps, 
And there she hopes, and fears, and weeps. 
And calls on his beloved name. 
Then thinking on her sin and shame, 
Her crushed heart sinks as in despair 
With that one pang it cannot bear. 
Aye—this is woman's madness—deem 
Her passion not an idle dream: 
Aye—this is love—a thing of fears, 
And doubts, and hopes, and sighs, and tears, 
A feverish feeling of the heart, 
A pain with which we're loath to part, 
A shadow in life's fleeting dream, 
A darksome cloud, a morning beam! 

   Each sound that's wafted on the breeze, 
Each gentlest rustling of the trees, 
And every tone that meets her ear 
Wakes her fond heart to hopes most dear. 
And then she chides his long delay— 
How can he wander far away 
From her he doated on ?—each day 
Seems as an age of loneliness, 
Bringing sad, soothless, dire distress :— 
For hearts that hope, 
Time tardily moves on; 
For hearts that love, he is too swiftly gone! 
At length, the fatal tidings came, 
Such as the tongue might fear to name, 
Such as the ear might shrink to hear, 
Tidings that wake the hopeless tear, 
The burning tear, that ne'er to grief 
Can give a sad, a last relief, 
That like the heart's blood darkly flows, 
And but declares the mourner's woes. 
Her hero on the battle plain 
Sleeps, ne'er to wake, alas ! again; 
His last thoughts were to Ada given, 
For her his last prayer rose to heaven, 
And on his tongue was Ada's name, 
As fled his soul to where ------

   Mark this bleak world, and ye shall find 
'Tis cold, relentless, and unkind; 
The sufferer rarely meets relief, 
But, like the yellow autumn leaf, 
Is driven by every fatal gale 
Where sorrows wound, and woes assail, 
And erring woman's heart, though riven, 
Hath never found it's sin forgiven! 
Lone Ada weeps; but every tear 
May never soothe her breast, but sear. 
The rose from her pale cheek hath fled, 
Her every hope lies cold and dead, 
Her every joy hath past away,
As sunbeams on tempestuous day. 
Her father's hall—the sense of shame, 
Sad anguish, and her sullied name, 
With all the pangs of guilty woe, 
Which none but who have felt may know, 
Forbid that she should e'er profane, 
With sinful step that hall again. 
Yet, oft, to soothe her maddened mind 
She deemed her father might be kind, 
But then in all its horrors came 
The appalling sense of guilty shame: 
How could she look upon his face, 
How might she fly to his embrace? 

In that bright isle she lonely lives, 
   If mere existence may be life; 
Her withered heart no joy receives, 
   But in its stead, th' eternal strife 
Of feelings crushed, and guilt, and woe 
And madness are her lot below! 
And from herself she fain would fly 
With so much woe 'twere bliss to die: 
And soon that awful day of doom, 
Shall, like relieving angel, come! 

March, 1827. 

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