Landon in The Literary Gazette 1831/Lines
Literary Gazette, 2nd April, 1831, Page 220
Supposed to be the Prayer of the Supplicating Nymph in
Mr. Lawrence Macdonald’s Exhibition of Sculptures.*
She kneels as if in prayer, one graceful arm
Extended to implore: her face is fair,
But calm and somewhat sad: methinks the past
Has taught her life's all general lesson—grief;
But grief which has subsided on that brow
To a sweet gravity, that yet seems strange
In one so young: her lip is cold, and wears
No smile to suit its beauty or its youth.
What is its prayer?
The myrtle wreath that I have laid
Upon thy shrine is withered all;
The bloom which once its beauty made,
I would not, if I could, recall;
No! emblem of my heart and me,
I lay it, Goddess, on thy shrine;
And the sole prayer I offer thee,
Is—let it still be emblem mine.
There was a time when I have knelt
With beating heart and burning brow;
All I once felt is now unfelt—
The depths once stirred are silent now:
I only kneel that I may pray
A future like my present time—
A calm, if not a varied way—
A still, if not a summer clime.
There comes no colour to my cheek,
Whatever step be passing by;
No glance makes mine the green earth seek,
That answer of a conscious eye;
My pulse is still as waves that sleep
When the unbroken heaven is seen;
Ah! never comes a calm so deep
As where the tempest late hath been.
Thou, Wind, that, like a gentle song,
Scarce stirs the sleeping summer air,
How often hast thou borne along
The vain reproach of my despair!
Fair fount, by whose moss-circled side
My eyes have shed their bitter rain,
Flow on with an unsullied tide,
Thou'lt never see my tears again.
Time was, I loved so many things,
The earth I trod, the sky above,—
The leaf that falls, the bird that sings;
Now there is nothing that I love—
And how much sorrow I am spared,
By loveless heart and listless eye!
Why should the life of love be shared
With things that change, or things that die?
Let the rose fall, another rose
Will bloom upon the self-same tree;
Let the bird die, ere evening close
Some other bird will sing for me.
It is for the beloved to love,
'Tis for the happy to be kind;
Sorrow will more than death remove
The associate links affections bind.
My heart hath like a lamp consumed,
In one brief blaze, what should have fed
For years the sweet life it illumed,
And now it lies cold, dark, and dead.
'Tis well such false light is o'ercast,
A light that burnt where'er it shone;
My eagerness of youth is past,
And I am glad that it is gone.
My hopes and feelings, like those flowers,
Are withered, on thy altar laid—
A dark night falls from my past hours:
Still let me dwell beneath its shade,
Cold as the winter midnight's air,
Calm as the groves around thy shrine—
Such, Goddess, is my future's prayer,
And my heart answers, "It is mine!"
L. E. L.
* We could wish our readers to visit the beautiful statue which has inspired these exquisitely descriptive, touching, and poetical lines.—Ed. L. G.