To live upon some distant lonely isle
Where all is beautiful; to sit and watch
The stars as they come smiling up the sky;
And then to gaze upon the face we love.
And find the eyes there brighter than the stars!
Twas a green solitude; a fairy haunt,
Set like an emerald in a golden sea
Upon the vast Atlantic, and so like
Those isles of which the poet only dreams,
That he who once might visit the sweet spot
Would deem kind nature in a joyous mood
Had made it only for Romance and Love!
'Twas happiness to muse along the shore.
And hear the evening hymn which the soft winds
Sang to the weary sun as home he came
To the embraces of his ocean-bride
And then to look upon the sea-born treasures
Stolen by the playful wave from that blue world
Where dwells the mermaid in her hyaline hall.
Were pleasure which the youthful heart can feel.
But never tell. The pink and azure shells
Loft on the sunny shore of that fair island.
Like a small tribute paid unto its beauty,
Had something spell-like in them, which could wake
Fancies, and thoughts as lovely as themselves. —
To mark the moonbeams cradled by the waves
Which clasped that isle ; to feel the midnight breeze
Playing around a honeysuckle bower,
And leaving, as it gently died away,
A legacy of sweetness, were to be
Partaker in the bliss enthusiasts paint.
Here — (a fit dwelling place for two fond hearts
That never needed more society,
But clung unto each other, and remained
Inseparable, like first love, and hope)
Young Eric, and his own Rosina dwelt.
Woes the world brings to all were not for them ;
Pangs which the lightest heart has had to bear.
Griefs which the gayest have been doomed to pass.
They had not felt — their days had all been gilt
With radiant sunshine , on their path of life
Flowers of eternal freshness had been strewed
By gentlest seraphs' hands ; and Hope had set
Her rainbow in the sky ; it promised peace
And happiness for ever — O! that Hope's
Bright Ins were not made of ram and sunshine!
When the sun sets, the lovely rainbow breaks.
And nothing then remains, but tears which flow
Like ram upon the heart! But oh! the rays
Which made their arch of hope so beautiful
Were all perpetual , they ne'er took wings —
Herein they were unlike realities
Young Eric oft' had seen the midnight moon
Walking unclouded through the azure sky,
Like a Sultana with her handmaid stars
Well pleased to gather round her, he had felt
The magic influence of such soft hour
Binding his soul as with a "clankless chain,"
And leading it a captive unto joy!
Oft when the skylark from his watch-tower high
Would send his sweet notes trembling to the earth
As heralds of approaching day, had Eric woke
To drink the freshness of the fragrant morn.
And see the golden floods of orient light
Rushing, like water from a fountain pure.
To gladden all things that it shone upon. —
He loved red roses, jasmines, and all flowers
Which make the soul soft, musical, and sweet
As an Aeolian harp But these with all their power
Could never wake that flame within his breast,
Which while it burns, gives light unto the heart.
And life to light, and happiness to life ;
But when extinguished, dark is all within.
And the crushed of heart lies ruined, fallen, and low!
Love, woman, stars and flowers! O! are not ye
The gifts which spirits in a pitying mood
Vouchsafed to man? Is not your power, enchantment?
Yes! ye were given for happiness; and we
When we would know what meaneth bliss, must turn
To gaze on you, and find it there, extracting
Like the bee, honey from the lotus red,
The sweets of Poesy divine from you.
O he was young! — Can minstrel's lay unfold
What ‘tis to love in youth, to weep, to pine,
To answer sigh for sigh, and tear for tear '>
Alas' the harp hath not a tone, and the fond bard
Essays in vain to weave a gentle verse
That might declare the history of Love —
Oh! who can tell how strangely in that dream
The quick pulse beats, and danceth with delight,
And how the tongue hath not the power to say
With what the brain is burning — how the lip
Will lose Its freshness, and the eye now brighten
Like a warm sunbeam, and anon be dimmed
With a fond tear to be kissed off again —
These are themselves so eloquent, 'twere vain
If minstrel spake for them to those who know
All that It is to feel hopes, fears, and griefs
Fluttering, like little birds, within the breast
Where they have nestled. He had watched her eyes
Until his own wept o'er their loveliness —
For there's a melancholy mood of mind
Which corneth when there is excess of joy
Within the breast, and waketh holy tears, —
Drops which o'erflow when the heart's cup is full!
His bosom was a temple; he had placed
Within that sanctuary all he loved,
Her image, name, and every word she spake —
These became deities to him , and then
His heart was their devoted worshipper
Come listen, and I'll tell thee Love ! who made
This isle a heaven; and as I heard the tale
I'll weave it into verse; for woman's ear
Should know no sounds but such as minstrelsy
Awakes to greet her. — Let me tell thee now
How, on a summer's eve when heaven looked gay
Clad in her loveliest vestment, and the clouds
Did chase each other down the southern slope
Of the great dome that canopies the earth.
This gentle pair upon the smooth green sward
Breathed vows of hallowed love, and whispered words
Melodious as the poet Nightingale's
Sad fall of music when he woos the rose! —
He held her to his heart , one hand was laid
Upon her neck, the other grasped her hand —
'Twas white, and delicate as a soft beam
Of the young moon up6n a calm clear night,
'Twas made for touchtng flowers, and to be kissed.
Her eye was heavenly blue, and spake of love •
Oh! I can liken it to nothing, for
I've never seen, or heard, or dreamed of aught
To which I might compare it. Her dark hair
Hanging in glossy ringlets down her neck,
Would have been wove into a net of love
If she had been the inmate of a palace.
A coronal of flowers was round her head.
Circling her fair brow like a fragrant halo
Flowers are fit ornaments for lovely woman ;
They're like herself, fair, beautiful, and soft.
When fondly cherished — withered when forsaken ! —
Rosina's voice ! — To hear it were to taste
Of bliss like that which Eastern legends tell
The Arab Prophet's paradise bestows.
O! why doth woman string the harp and lute?
There is more dulcet music on her lips
Than all the power of art could ever wake.
Beneath her lattice let her lover's strains
Float on the gale which bears them up to her
As if It pitied all his pain , then she
Should but reply with her melodious voice,
Whose sweetness puts all minstrelsy to shame. —
Rosina was a young enthusiast
Life without Love would seem unto her thoughts
Like to a rosebud robbed of all its fragrance;
But love being as the vital air she breathed,
It was the element in which she lived! —
The heart of woman loves to cling; and oft
When after vain endeavour it hath sought
For something gentle, it will twine around
The hard and cold — but ah! few flowers will bloom
Upon the flinty rock; — they're delicate,
And need much kinder cherishing. But she
The girl whose history my lay declares
Was loved again, even she loved , their hearts
Were like two mirrors, and each saw itself
Imaged upon the other!
This is bliss!
Oh! this is happiness which glides on dreams,
That come upon the wings of night to glad
The gifted minstrel's eyes. — why do such thoughts
Like birds of paradise, flit through the heaven
Where poets love to gaze; why do they fling
Such dazzling brightness o'er the path they take.
Like a high angel's flight through azure space
Unto the star which he hath made his home?
I look upon the picture which I've drawn.
And then in mood of mind less wild, I turn
In calmer hour, to gaze upon this world
Of cold reality, and ah! I find
This is not life!