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


For loneliness and thought this is the hour:— 
   Now that thou smil'st so beautiful and bright, 
Oh! how I feel thy soul-subduing power, 
   And gaze upon thy loveliness, sweet Night! 
   There sails the moon, like a small silver bark 
   Floating upon the ocean vast and dark: 
Lovers should only look upon her light, 
   And only by her light should lovers meet; 
They catch an inspiration from the sight, 
   And all their words flow musically sweet, 
Like the soft fall of waters far away; 
   Their hearts run o'er with gladness, till they seem 
As if they were not beings of the day, 
   But beautiful creations of a dream! 


Night, Night, O Night! thou hast a gentle face, 
   Like a fond mother's smiling o'er her child! 
I gaze on thee till my soul swells apace 
   With thoughts, and aspirations, high and wild. 
'Tis ever so ; and there be some, who find 
   That when the eye is fixed on boundless space 
Spurning the earth, vast grows the giant mind, 
   And seeks in some bright orb a dwelling-place.
And it may be, that in my breast the fires 
   Of hope, and fancy both are burning bright; 
And all my aspirations, and desires 
   May pass away, e'en with thy shadows, Night! 
But could my spirit fly from earth afar, 
'Twould dwell with one I love in yonder lovely star. 


Oh! how fond memory in the calm of night 
   Brings to the mind young love, though love hath past, 
With all th' endearing things which gave delight, 
   And which we once believed could always last! 
Oft at this hour, in happier days 1 deem, 
   When, Time ! thy foot fell softly upon flowers, 
And lighted by Diana's purest beam, 
   Have youthful hearts enjoyed the passing hours; 
And as the lover named the loved-one's name, 
   Pale grew her cheek, while glowed the fire within, 
Like pure asbestos whitened by the flame; 
   Then did the madness of his heart begin; 
And then he gazed upon her forehead fair, 
Then looked into her eyes, to see if love was there. 


Swift as the dark eye's glance, or falcon's flight, 
Thought comes on thought, awakened by the night— 
And there are some which point towards the past, 
   And fondly linger o'er life's twilight sky, 
   Hailing the sacred star of memory; 
And thou, though lonely, thou, my poor heart, hast 
Much to muse over of past happiness, 
And though 'tis gone for ever, not the less 
Is its remembrance dear:—but lo ! a cloud 
Hath wrapt the moon, like beauty in a shroud! 
Hush ! there is silence—but methinks mine ear 
A distant, sweet, seraphic hymn doth hear— 
The stars alone are watching from above, 
Hush! 'tis the night wind's voice—ah! soft as hers I love. 

This to the soul of feeling sadness brings, 
   And painful thoughts of those who once were dear, 
   But who, now far from bleak misfortune's sphere, 
Fly on from world to world with golden wings; 
   This wakes in many an eye a hopeless tear; 
'Tis vainly shed, for still the fond heart clings 
   (Though sorrow all its best enjoyments sear) 
Unto the memory of vanished things!— 
The moon is gone ; and thus go those we love; 
   The night winds wail; and thus for them we mourn 
The stars look down; thus spirits from above 
   Hallow the mourner's tears upon the urn. 
Some thoughts are all of joy, and some of woe; 
Mine end in tears—they're welcome—let them flow. 


Ye tears that flow, ye sighs that break the heart, 
   Ah! wherefore do ye not relieve the wound, 
The deadly wound which Griefs envenomed dart 
   Gives to the breast whose blood must stream un-bound? 
Ah! no, it must not be !—tears wildly start, 
   And sighs are heaved, and blood sinks in the ground; 
   But these bring no relief :—we look around, 
But vainly look for those who formed a part 
   Of us, as we of them, and whom we wore 
   Like gems in bezils, in the heart's deep core. 
Where are they now ?—gone to that' narrow cell' 
   Whose gloom no lamp hath broken, nor shall break, 
Whose secrets never spirit came to tell:— 
   O! that their day might dawn, for then they would awake. 

May, 1827. 

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