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

The Golden Vase

   With love's sweet takens many things are linked, 
   Words made of music, glances which could speak, 
   And sighs that rose like incense from the heart 
   These an reflected in love's sacred gifts. 
   Even as a mirror shows the form before it. 

   See, how she hangs upon that golden vase!
As if each flower it holds were a sweet thought, 
Or the remembrance of a joy long past. 
On which the heart will lean as for support. 
That It fall not, and break. Her hair is dressed 
With flowers, which speak of all that's in her mind 
One rose she wears upon her temple, 'tis 
To show she hath one love , the stalk is hid 
By a dark glossy ringlet, this doth say 
None shall discover where that passion sprang 
Twined with her braided tresses you may see 
The pale Cameeni, which though fair at night 
Sweetens the earth, its bed of death, by morn 
Is not this meant to say her hopes have been 
Like that ill-fated flower ? their chain of life 
Too short, and the first link too near the last 
There is a mournful stillness in her eye. 
Which tells, with too much eloquence, alas! 
What grief is preying on her heart: — it brings 
A thought of the lone moon when nothing breaks 
The silence of her reign, and to the poet's eye 
She melancholy seems, though beautiful!
There are no smiles upon that lady's lip 
Sparkling like sunbeams on a ruby rare, 
And he who gazes on her cheek, may deem 
That its rich hue is lent unto the rose 
Which blushes on her silver blow Her arm 
So white, so delicate, so gently twined 
Around the golden neck of that bright vase 
Looks as 'twere made of moonlight Has that arm 
Not oft' encircled what it loved to clasp? 
O gaze upon it longer still! it seems 
As if it would invite young love to rest 
His head even there, and slumber if he can 
That vase whose happiness might make us burn 
Is fond affection's token; 'tis the gift 
Of one to whom her heart is given in change 
And he hath left the bower, and beauty's side. 
Her smiles, and tears, her soft persuasive voice, 
That heavenly melody of whioh his heart 
Dreamed in the spring-time of his youth. 
These he hath left for war's blood-reddened field, 
For horrid sights, and scenes of waste and woe; 
The hamlet desolate, the wall o'erthrown, 
The city sacked, the hostile town besieged; 
The hoarse breath of the trumpet , the war cry 
Of armies rushing to the charge , the neigh 
Of steeds caparisoned with gold and purple, 
The moan of soldiers dying gasp by gasp, 
The howl of midnight hungry wolves, which feast 
Upon th' uncharnel'd dead; and the shrill scream 
Of revenous vultures warring o'er their prey. 

   How do men leave beloved hearts, to pine 
In wretchedness unutterably sad. 
With no companions in their solitude 
But thoughts as dark and dismal as despair? 
Oh' when our country writhes in galling chains. 
When her proud masters scourge her as a dog, 
If her wild cry be borne upon the gale. 
Our bosoms at thd melancholy sound 
Should swell, and we should rush to her relief. 
Like sons, at an unhappy parent's wail!
And when we know the flash of patriot swords 
Is unto spirits longing to be free. 
Like Hope's returning light, we should not pause 
Till every tyrant who on us hath trod 
Lies humbled at our feet, or till we find 
Graves, which may truly say thus much for us — 
Here sleep the brave who loved their country well!
   The Moslem is come down to spoil the land 
Which every god hath blest. For such a soil 
So rich, so clad with beauty, who would not 
Unlock his veins, and pour their treasure forth 
The Hindoo hath marched forward to repel 
The lawless plunderer of his holy shrines. 
The savage, rude disturber of his peace, 
And with that lady of his heart remains 
The vase o'er which she hangs. How long we gaze 
Upon the sacred pledge of youthful love. 
Hoping its joys may be our own again! 
Alas, such hopes too oft' are only dreams ! — 
See — a young minstrel stands before her there, 
But she regards him not! — 'tis said that grief 
Hath been by music charmed away, and sooth 
It is a potent spell. Her hand she waves 
As if to try the power of magic sounds 
In breaking sorrow's chain; and hark! he flings 
Delicious strains upon her listening ear. 

   Those flowers are blest, are doubly blest 
      When two such eyes as thine, 
   Of all created stars the best 
      On them so brightly shine:
   Were I a flower for such sweet rest 
      What rapture would be mine!
   I would be blest, be doubly blest 
      By those bright eyes of thine. 

   That golden vase has golden lot. 
      When such an arm as thine. 
   Whose peer the goodly world has not 
      Doth round it gently twine. 
   Were I that vase-forgive the thought!
      My bliss would be divine, 
   And I would bless my golden lot 
      For that soft arm of thine. 

   Scarce had he ceased, when with enquiring eye 
She scanned his face, and sure his voice to her 
Is as familiar as the cuckoo's note 
Unto the ear of spring; she saw his breast 
Rising with wild emotion; her heart's beat 
Now became loud and quick, as if it sought 
to know his feelings, and would fain have rushed 
Forth from imprisonment to clear its doubts. 
Her radiant eye upon his finger glanced, 
And the gem there waxed starry in its ray. 
She knew the ring, 'twas once her own ; her tears 
Came gathering fast for joy 'Tis he! 'tis he! 
Her lip is pressed to his for whom she lives. 
Her arm entwines not now the vase's neck. 
But taken from the gift, it fondly clings 
Like a sweet tendril to the giver. 

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