Felicia Hemans in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine Volume 31 1832/The Song of the Gifted

For other versions of this work, see The Song of the Gifted.

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 31, Pages 781-782



That voice re-measures
Whatever tones and melancholy pleasures
The things of mature utter: birds or trees,
Or where the tall grass 'mid the heath-plant waves,
Murmur and music thin of sudden breeze.

I heard a song upon the wandering wind,
A song of many tones—though one full soul
Breathed through them all imploringly; and made
All nature as they pass'd, all quivering leaves
And low responsive reeds and waters thrill,
As with the consciousness of human prayer.
—At times the passion-kindled melody
Might seem to gush from Sappho's fervent heart,
Over the wild sea-wave;—at times the strain
Flow’d with more plaintive sweetness, as if born
Of Petrarch's voice, beside the lone Vaucluse;
And sometimes, with its melancholy swell,
A graver sound was mingled, a deep note
Of Tasso's holy lyre;—yet still the tones
Were of a suppliant;—"Leave me not!" was still
The burden of their music; and I knew

The lay which genius, in its loneliness,
Its own still world amidst th' o'erpeopled world,
Hath ever breathed to Love.

    They crown me with the glistening crown,
        Borne from a deathless tree;
I hear the pealing music of renown—
        O Love! forsake me not
        Mine were a lone dark lot,
             Bereft of thee!

    They tell me that my soul can throw
        A glory o'er the earth;
From thee, from thee, is caught that golden glow!
        Shed by thy gentle eyes
        It gives to flower and skies,
            A bright, new birth!

    Thence gleams the path of morning,
Over the kindling hills, a sunny zone!
    Thence to its heart of hearts, the Rose is burning
        With lustre not its own!
        Thence every wood-recess
        Is fill'd with loveliness,
Each bower, to ringdoves and dim violets known.

    I see all beauty by the ray
That streameth from thy smile;
    Oh! bear it, bear it not away!
        Can that sweet light beguile?
    Too pure, too spirit-like, it seems,
    To linger long by earthly streams;
        I clasp it with th' alloy
        Of fear 'midst quivering joy,
Yet must I perish if the gift depart—
Leave me not, Love! to mine own beating heart!

    The music from my lyre
With thy swift step would flee;
    The world's cold breath would quench the starry fire
In my deep soul—a temple fill'd with thee!
        Seal’d would the fountains lie,
        The waves of harmony,
Which thou alone canst free!

Like a shrine 'midst rocks forsaken,
    Whence the oracle hath fled;
Like a harp which none might waken
    But a mighty master dead;
Like the vase of a perfume scatter'd,
    Such would my spirit be;
So mute, so void, so shatter'd,
    Bereft of thee!

Leave me not, Love! or if this earth
    Yield not for thee a home,
If the bright summer-land of thy pure birth
    Send thee a silvery voice that whispers—"Come!"
Then, with the glory from the rose,
    With the sparkle from the stream,
With the light thy rainbow-presence throws
    Over the poet's dream;
        With all th' Elysian hues
        Thy pathway that suffuse,
    With joy, with music, from the fading grove,
    Take me, too, heavenward, on thy wing, sweet Love!