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

Love's First Feelings


'Twas at a merry festival. 
His eyes glanced darkly in the hall; 
He met me, and my hand he prest, 
A sudden dullness seized my breast; 
I shivered, and my hand grew cold, 
As if my mortal hour were told; 
I would it had been ! but his smile, 
Like sunshine beaming, cheered the while; 
And when I saw he smiled on me, 
My heart knelt in idolatry! 
I know not how it then could brook 
One glance from him,—his smile, and look,— 
But for such madness, and such pain, 
I would not live that hour again. 
O ! why was woman made to feel 
Emotions strong, and not reveal? 
Or, like the Phoenix, in the fire 
Her heart hath made, it should expire. 
A few wild words he spake—and then 
A burning thought flashed through my brain; 
It passed—but like the lightning's wing 
All hopes seared with its fiery sting. 
It passed—I would that very hour 
That I had faded like a flower, 
A flower which heaven's soft tears had cherished. 
But when the wild blast came, had perished. 

'Twill not be so with me ; for grief 
Will strew the flowret leaf by leaf. 
Thus living, what is life but breath? 
   The dull departing of a ray, 
   A wasting of the soul away; 
O God! O God! 'tis living death! 
That thought—I dare not name it now— 
My brain throbs with it yet—my brow 
Is burning strangely, and my ear 
Rings with a voice I would not hear. 

He left the hall of revelry, 
And wished good night and peace to me; 
All eyes were fixed on him, but mine 
Nor dared to rise, nor dared to shine— 
Something had glazed them o'er—but no— 
I scorned my weakness thus to show; 
I looked around, but he was gone; 
And then I felt he was the one, 
The only one who was to be 
The ruler of my destiny. 

January, 1827. 

This page has paths: