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

The Poet's Habitation: A Fragment

   It should be an Aegean isle, 
Where heaven, and earth, and ocean smile, 
More like an island of the blest 
Than aught that e'er this world possessed; 
The pebbles on the sea-girt shore, 
Like Paphian gems, should sparkle o'er; 
And when waves kissed them, there should be 
Sounds passing mortal minstrelsy, 
As if an elfin spell had bound 
The waters to produce such sound: 
And then, upon the dark-blue tide 
A little boat should softly glide, 
That bark of one fair shell should be, 
Like purest pearl on sapphire sea; 
And never should its slender sail 
Be stretched, but by a scented gale 
That brought its odours from the shore, 
So sweet, that none could wish for more! 
And there, the purple vine should bloom; 
And there, the bee should blithely hum, 
As on from flower to flower she flew, 
To sip the sweets, and drink the dew; 
And from an olive-wood, the dove 
Should coo her tale of love, sweet love! 
And on th' eternal ocean's breast
The swan should rear her snow-white crest, 
And sail upon the lucid tide, 
With gallant mien, and gait of pride! 
And on this island I should live 
Without the joys that man can give; 
None should be near me there, and none 
Should share my happiness—but one— 
One tender soul, more soft and fair 
Than all the gathered sweetness there! 
And I would build me a green grove, 
To music sacred, and to love! 
In that delicious, dewy bower 
We'd while together many an hour, 
Till Cynthia slumbered on the hill, 
And every warbler's note was still, 
Save the lone nightingale's, and save 
The music of the moonlit wave! 
At that soft hour, in that blest place, 
I'd look upon the lovely face 
Beside me—'till I locked her charms 
Securely in my folded arms, 
And while her head lay on my breast, 
The winds would sing her into rest. 
Her couch should be with roses spread, 
Fresh culled from their dew-spangled bed, 
So sweet, so lovely, and so fair, 
'Twere almost sin to strew them there. 
The morn should break as bright and clear, 
As when the sun did first appear; 
The lark, full swiftly soaring high, 
Should sing his matins in the sky; 
The leveret, waking with the dawn, 
Should brush the dew-drop from the lawn; 
No hunter's horn should echo there, 
To rouse the red stag from his lair, 
But at the sound of my love's lute 
He'd come, with nimbly-bounding foot, 
For the gay garland that she wove 
The last glad evening, in the grove.
* * * * * * 
On such a spot I'd make my home, 
Nor wish away from thence to roam; 
With such a spirit for life's light 
My life indeed would then be bright! 
But this is pleasure's summit, this 
Is, ah ! too like unearthly bliss— 
'Tis all a poet's dream---- 
* * * * * * 

June, 1826. 

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