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

Lines On the Unfortunate Death of Henry Neele, Esq.

      Is it for this heaven's gilfts of fancy, hope. 
   Love's soft imaginings, its flowers and stars 
   Are wove into a garland for the bard? 
   Sure sensibility like Lightning gleams 
   Most beauteous, but destroying. Ah! what hap, 
   What melancholy fate that but to this 
   Genius at last must come! 

There is a light that cannot be 
   Quenched into nothing — so divine 
It blazes on eternally. 
   And lives along the poet's line. 
That light is in thy breathing lay. 
   As goodness pure, as glory bright. 
And like a beacon far away 
   It cheers the lone heart's murky night. 
There is a crown, the richest far — 
   O! pluck those sparkling wonders down. 
Set in a circle many a star. 
   And that shall be the poet's crown. 
That starry crown is on thy bust 
   Decreed by doom itself to thee, 
It will not fall, like man to dust, 
   But like the sun glow deathlessly.

Soul of the minstrel! — gifted child! 
   Unfettered now, and unconfined. 
That deed was wild, was passing wild — 
   The madness of a minstrel's mind. 
Why was that longing to be free. 
   To break the link of being's chain. 
To make thee wings, and dove-like flee 
   To the pure spirit's pure domain? 

Was it that earth has fewer flowers 
   Than blush in groves of other spheres, 
Or didst thou dream of rosier hours 
   In worlds beyond this world of tears 
Was It that hope's soft rainbow hues 
   Like fleeting vapours melt away, 
Or didst thou think joy's evening dews 
   Should on the heart perpetual stay? 

Was It that earth's idolatry 
   Is not enough for minstrel high. 
That pride forbears to bend the knee 
   When godlike genius passeth by?
Was it that friends are all untrue, 
   That smiles betray, the sorrows burn, 
That storms obscure heaven's beauteous blue, 
   That memory is dead pleasure's urn? 

Was it that love's night-born dream 
   Whereon we weep when all awake — 
A parting ray, a sunny gleam 
   That leaves the cheated heart to break 
Was is that "Fame's proud temple shines" 
   Too like futurity, afar, — 
That grief dilates, that bliss declines. 
   That life and hope are — What they are? 

Was it that heavenly minstrelsy 
   Ne'er finds a guerdon meet on earth, 
That many a maddening woe may be 
   Concealed beneath the mask of mirth? 
O! who can answer? yet one day 
   Will bring a sunbeam to thy tomb — 
Till then, let sorrowing minstrels say 
   The world's unkindness worked thy doom. 

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