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Departed spirit ! on this earthly sphere
And, whispering peace, conceal with duteous art
Yes! we may hope that nature's deathless ties, Renew'd, refined, shall triumph in the skies ! Heart-soothing thought! whose loved, consoling
powers With seraph-dreams can gild reflection's hours, Oh! still be near, and brightening through the
gloom, Beam and ascend ! the day-star of the tomb ! And smile for those, in sternest ordeals proved, Those lonely hearts, bereft of all they loved.
But who may charm her sleepless pang to rest, Or draw the thorn that rankles in her breast ? And, while she bends in silence o'er thy bier, Assuage the grief, too hcart-sick for a tear? Visions of hope in loveliest hues array'd, Fair scenes of bliss by fancy's hand portray'd ! And were ye doom'd with false, illusive smile, With flattering promise, to enchant awhile ? And are ye vanish’d, never to return, Set in the darkness of the mouldering urn? Will no bright hour departed joys restore? Shall the sad parent meet her child no more? Behold no more the soul-illumined face, The expressive smile, the animated grace ! Must the fair blossom, wither'd in the tomb, Revive no more in loveliness and bloom? Descend, blest faith ! dispel the hopeless care, And chase the gathering phantoms of despair; Tell that the flower, transplanted in its morn, Enjoys bright Eden, freed from every thorn; Expands to milder suns, and softer dews, The full perfection of immortal hues; Tell, that when mounting to her native skies, By death released, the parent spirit flies; There shall the child, in anguish mourn'd so long, With rapture hail her midst the cherub throng, And guide her pinion on exulting flight, Through glory's boundless realms, and worlds of
Lo! by the couch where pain and chill disease In every vein the ebbing life-blood freeze ; Where youth is taught, by stealing, slow decay, Life's closing lesson--in its dawning day; Where beauty's rose is withering ere its prime, Unchanged by sorrow and unsoil'd by time; There, bending still, with fix'd and sleepless eye, There, from her child, the mother learns to die; Explores, with fearful gaze, each mournful trace Of lingering sickness in the faded face; Through the sad night, when every hope is fled, Keeps her lone vigil by the sufferer's bed; And starts each morn, as deeper marks declare The spoiler's hand—the blight of death is there ! He comes ! now feebly in the exhausted frame, Slow, languid, quivering, burns the vital flame; From the glazed eye-ball sheds its parting rayDim, transient spark, that fluttering fades away ! Faint beats the hovering pulse, the trembling heart; Yet fond existence lingers ere she part !
Ye gentle spirits of departed friends! If e'er on earth your buoyant wing descends; If, with benignant care, ye linger near, To guard the objects in existence dear; If, hovering o'er, ethereal band ! ye view The tender sorrows, to your memory true; Oh! in the musing hour, at midnight deep, While for your loss affection wakes to weep; While every sound in hallow'd stillness lies, But the low murmur of her plaintive sighs; Oh ! then, amidst that holy calm be near, Breathe your light whisper softly in her ear; With secret spells her wounded mind compose, And chase the faithful tear—for you that flows: Be near-when moonlight spreads the charm you
loved O'er scenes where once your carthly footstep
"Tis past ! the struggle and the pang are o'er, And life shall throb with agony no more; While o'er the wasted form, the features pale, Death's awful shadows throw their silvery veil.
Then, while she wanders o'er the sparkling dew, Through glens and wood-paths, once endear'd
by you, And fondly lingers in your favourite bowers, And pauses oft, recalling former hours; Then wave your pinion o'er each well-known vale, Float in the moonbeam, sigh upon the gale; Bid your wild symphonies remotely swell, Borne by the summer-wind from grot and dell; And touch your viewless harps, and soothe her soul With soft enchantments and divine control ! Be near, sweet guardians ! watch her sacred rest, When Slumber folds her in his magic vest; Around her, smiling, let your forms arise, Return'd in dreams, to bless her mental eyes; Efface the memory of your last farewell — Of glowing joys, of radiant prospects tell ; The sweet communion of the past renew, Reviving former scenes, array'd in softer hue.
Be near when death, in virtue's brightest hour, Calls up each pang, and summons all his power; Oh! then, transcending Fancy's loveliest dream, Then let your forms unveil'd around her beam; Then waft the vision of unclouded light, A burst of glory, on her closing sight; Wake from the harp of heaven th'immortal strain, To hush the final agonies of pain ; With rapture's flame the parting soul illume, And smile triumphant through the shadowy gloom ! Oh! still be near, when, darting into day, Th' exulting spirit leaves her bonds of clay; Be yours to guide her fluttering wings on high O'er many a world, ascending to the sky; There let your presence, once her earthly joy, Though dimm'd with tears and clouded with alloy, Now form her bliss on that celestial shore Where death shall sever kindred hearts no more.
TO MR EDWARDS, THE HARPER OP
CONWAY. [Some of the happiest days the young poetess ever passed were during occasional visits to some friends at Conway, where the charms of the scenery, combining all that is most beautiful in wood, water, and ruin, are sufficient to inspire the most prosaic temperament with a certain degree of enthusiasm ; and it may therefore well be supposed how fervently a soul constituted like hers would worship Nature at so fitting a shrine. With that happy versatility which was at all times a leading characteristic of her mind, she would now enter with child-like playfulness into the enjoyments of a mountain scramble, or a pic-nic water party, the gayest of the merry band, of whom some are now, like herself, laid low, some far away in foreign lands, some changed by sorrow, and all by time; and then, in graver mood, dream away hours of pensive contemplation amidst the gray ruins of that noblest of Welsh castles, standing, as it then did, in solitary grandeur, unapproached by bridge or causeway, flinging its broad shadow across the tributary waves which washed its regal walls. These lovely scenes never ceased to retain their hold over the imagination of her whose youthful muse had so often celebrated their praises. Her peculiar admiration of Mrs Joanna Baillie's play of Ethwald was always pleasingly associated with the recollection of her having first read it amidst the ruins of Conway Castle. At Conway, too, she first made acquaintance with the lively and graphic Chronicles of the chivalrous Froissart, whose inspiring pages never lost their place in her favour. Her own little poem, " The Ruin and its Flowers," which will be found amongst the earlier pieces in the present collection, was written on an excursion to the old fortress of Dyganwy, the rernains of which are situated on a bold promontory near the entrance of the river Conway; and whose ivied walls, now fast mouldering into oblivion, once bore their part bravely in the defence of Wales; and are further endeared to the lovers of song and tradition as having echoed the complaints of the captive Elphin, and resounded to the harp of Taliesin. A scarcely degenerate representative of that gifted bard 1 had, at the time now alluded to, his appropriate dwelling-place at Conway; but his strains have long been silenced, and there now remain few, indeed, on whom the Druidical mantle has fallen so worthily. In the days when his playing was heard by one so fitted to enjoy its originality and beauty,
“The minstrel was infirm and old;" but his inspiration had not yet forsaken him; and the following lines (written in 1811) will give an idea of the magic power he still knew how to exercise over the feelings of his auditors.)
Yes ! in the noon of that Elysian clime, Beyond the sphere of anguish, death, or time; Where mind's bright eye, with renovated fire, Shall beam on glories never to expire; Oh! there th' illumined soul may fondly trust, More pure, more perfect, rising from the dust, Those mild affections, whose consoling light Sheds the soft moonbeam on terrestrial night, Sublimed, ennobled, shall for ever glow, Exalting rapture-not assuaging woe!
MINSTREL ! whose gifted hand can bring
1 Mr Edwards, the Harper of Conway, as he was generally called, had been blind from his birth, and was endowed with that extraordinary musical genius by which persons suffering under such a visitation are not unfrequently indemnified. From the respectability of his circumstances, be was not
Thine is the charm, suspending care,
Exult, o Cambria !--now no more
For Genius, with divine control,
Now Grandeur, pealing in the tone,
Long, long, fair Conway! boast the skill
Famous indeed ! such traces of his power,
His fossils, flints, and spars, of every hue,
Weep not, good reader ! he is truly blest Amidst chalcedony and quartz to rest : Weep not for him ! but envied be his doom, Whose tomb, though small, for all he loved had
And, O ye rocks !-schist, gneiss, whate'er ye be,
EPITAPH ON MR W-,
A CELEBRATED MINERALOGIST.1
Stop, passenger ! a wondrous tale to listHere lies a famous Mineralogist.
OX THE HAMMER OF THE AFORESAID MINERALOGIST.
called upon to exercise his talents with any view to remuneration. He played to delight himself and others; and the innocent complacency with which he enjoyed the ecstasies called forth by his skill, and the degree of appreciation with which he regarded himself, as in a manner consecrated, by being made the depositary of a direct gift from Heaven, were as far as possible removed from any of the common modifica. tions of vanity or self-conceit.
1 “Whilst on the subject of Conway, it may not be amiss to introduce two little pieces of a very different character from the foregoing, (Lines to Mr Edward the Harper,) which were written at the same place, three or four years afterwards, and will serve as a proof of that versatility of talent before alluded to. As may easily be supposed, they were never intended for publication, but were merely a jeu d'esprit of the moment, in good-humoured raillery of the indefatigable zeal and perseverance of one of the party in his geological researches." -Memoir, p. 20.
HERE in the dust, its strange adventures o'er,
And bring down lumps so precious, and so many,
mer; Remembering well, “ what perils do environ" Woman or “ man that meddles with cold iron.”
And you, fair daughters of the Emerald Isle !
PROLOGUE TO THE POOR GENTLEMAN,
AS INTENDED TO BE PERFORMED BY THE OFFICERS OF THE
34TH REGIMENT AT CLON MEL.
Enter Captain GEORGE Browne, in the character of
Corporal Foss. TO-NIGHT, kind friends, at your tribunal here, Stands “ The Poor Gentleman," with many a fear; Since well he knows, whoe'er may judge his cause, That Poverty's no title to applause. Genius or Wit, pray, who'll admire or quote, If all their drapery be a threadbare coat ? Who, in a world where all is bought and sold, Minds a man's worth-except his worth in gold ? Who'll greet poor Merit if she lacks a dinner ! Hence, starving saint, but welcome, wealthy sinner ! Away with Poverty ! let none receive her, She bears contagion as a plague or fever; “Bony, and gaunt, and grim”—like jaundiced eyes, Discolouring all within her sphere that lies. “ Poor Gentleman !" and by poor soldiers, too! Oh, matchless impudence ! without a sous ! In scenes, in actors poor, and what far worse is, With heads, perhaps, as empty as their purses, How shall they dare at such a bar appear ? What are their tactics and manæuvres here?
And why despair, indulgence when we crave From Erin's sons, the generous and the brave? Theirs the high spirit, and the liberal thought, Kind, warm, sincere, with native candour fraught; Still has the stranger, in their social isle, Met the frank welcome and the cordial smile, And well their hearts can share, though unexpress'd, Each thought, each feeling, of the soldier's breast.
[As, in the present collected edition of the writings of Mrs Hemans, chronological arrangement has been for the first time strictly attended to, a selection from her Juvenile compositions has been given, chiefly as a matter of curiosity-for her real career as an authoress cannot be said to have commenced before the publication of the section which immediately follows.
In a very general point of view, the intellectual history of Mrs Hemans' mind may be divided into two distinct and separate eras-the first of which may be termed the classical, and comprehends the productions of her pen, from “ The Restoration of the Works of Art to Italy," and “Modern Greece," down to the Historical Scenes," and the “ Translations from Camoens; "and the last, the romantic, which commences with “ The Forest Sanctuary," and includes “ The Records of Woman," together with nearly all her later efforts. In regard to excellence, there can be little doubt that the last section as far transcends the first as that does the merely Juvenile Poems now given, and which certainly appear to us to exhibit occasional scintillations of the brightness which followed. Even after the early poetical attempts of Cowley and Pope, of Chatterton, Kirke White, and Byron, these immature outpourings of sentiment and description may be read with an interest which diminishes not by comparison.]
While thoughts like these come rushing o'er
our mind, Oh ! may we still indulgence hope to find ! Brave sons of Erin ! whose distinguish'd name Shines with such brilliance in the page of Fame,
1 These verses were written about the same time as the preceding humorous epitaphs.
THE RESTORATION OF THE WORKS OF ART TO ITALY.
[“ The French, who in every invasion have been the scourge of Italy, and have rivalled or rather surpassed the rapacity of the Goths and Vandals, laid their sacrilegious hands on the unparalleled collection of the Vatican, tore its masterpieces from their pedestals, and, dragging them from their temples of marble, transported them to Paris, and consigned them to the dull sullen halls, or rather stables, of the Louvre.
But the joy of discovery was short, and the triumpb of taste transitory."-EUSTACE's Classical Tour through Italy, vol. ii. p. 60.]
LAND of departed fame! whose classic plains Who bade once more the wild heroic lay
past, Lost, lovely realm ! once more 'tis thine to gaze One strife remain’d-the mightest and the last ! On the rich relics of sublimer days.
Nerved for the struggle, in that fateful hour
Untamed Ambition summon'd all his power: Awake, ye Muses of Etrurian shades,
Vengeance and Pride, to frenzy roused, were there, Or sacred Tivoli's romantic glades;
And the stern might of resolute Despair. Wake, ye that slumber in the bowery gloom Isle of the free ! 'twas then thy champions stood, Where the wild ivy shadows Virgil's tomb; Breasting unmoved the combat's wildest flood; Or ye, whose voice, by Sorga's lonely wave, Sunbeam of battle ! then thy spirit shone, Swell’d the deep echoes of the fountain's cave, Glow'd in each breast, and sunk with life alone. Or thrill'd the soul in Tasso's numbers highThose magic strains of love and chivalry !
O hearts devoted ! whose illustrious doom If yet by classic streams ye fondly rove,
Gave there at once your triumph and your tomb, Haunting the myrtle vale, the laurel grove, Ye firm and faithful, in the ordeal tried Oh! rouse once more the daring soul of song, Of that dread strife, by Freedom sanctified; Seize with bold hand the harp, forgot so long, Shrined, not entomb’d, ye rest in sacred earth, And hail, with wonted pride, those works revered, Hallow'd by deeds of more than mortal worth. Hallow'd by time, by absence more endear'd. What though to mark where sleeps heroic dust,
No sculptured trophy rise, or breathing bust, And breathe to Those the strain, whose warrior- Yours, on the scene where valour's race was run, might
A prouder sepulchrethe field ye won ! Each danger stemm’d, prevail'd in every fight- There every mead, each cabin's lowly name, Souls of unyielding power, to storms inured, Shall live a watchword blended with your fame; Sublimed by peril, and by toil matured.
And well may flowers suffice those graves to crown Sing of that Leader, whose ascendant mind That ask no urn to blazon their renown ! Could rouse the slumbering spirit of mankind; There shall the bard in future ages tread, Whose banners track'd the vanquish'd Eagle's flight And bless each wreath that blossoms o'er the O'er many a plain, and dark sierra's height;