The Golden Violet with its Tales of Romance and Chivalry and Other Poems/Amenaïde’s Song
But from the harp a darker song
Is sweeping like the winds along—
The night gale, at that dreamy hour
When spirit and when storm have power;—
Yet sadly sweet: and can this be,
Amenaïde, the wreck of thee?
Mind, dangerous and glorious gift,
Too much thy native heaven has left
Its nature in thee, for thy light
To be content with earthly home:
It hath another, and its sight
Will too much to that other roam,—
And heavenly light and earthly clay
But ill bear with alternate sway;—
Till jarring elements create
The evil which they sought to shun,
And deeper feel their mortal state,
In struggling for a higher one.
There is no rest for the proud mind;
Conscious of its high powers confined,
Vain dreams mid its best hopes arise;
It is itself its sacrifice.
Ah! sad it is, to see the deck
Dismasted, of some noble wreck;
And sad to see the marble stone
Defaced, and with grey moss o'ergrown;
And sad to see the broken lute
For ever to its music mute!
But what is lute, or fallen tower,
Or ship sunk in its proudest hour,
To awe and mystery combined
In their worst shape—the ruin'd mind?
To her was trusted that fine power
Which rules the bard's enthusiast hour;
The human heart gave up its keys
To her, who ruled its sympathies
In song whose influence was brought
From what first in herself had wrought
Too passionate; her least emotion
Swept like the whirlwind o'er the ocean.
Kind, tender, but too sensitive,
None seem'd her equal love to bear;
Affection's ties small joys could give,
Tried but by what she hoped they were.
Too much on all her feelings threw
The colouring of their own hue;
Too much her ardent spirit dream'd
Things would be such as she had deem'd.
She trusted love, albeit her heart
Was ill made for love's happiness;
She ask'd too much, another's part
Was cold beside her own excess.
She sought for praise; her share of fame,
It went beyond her wildest claim:
But ill could her proud spirit bear
All that befalls the laurel's share;—
Oh, well they gave the laurel tree
A minstrel's coronal to be!
Immortal as its changeless hue,
The deadly poison circles through,
Its venom makes its life; ah! still
Earth's lasting growths are those of ill;—
And mined was the foundation stone,
The spirit's regal shrine o'erthrown.
Aimless and dark, the wandering mind
Yet had a beauty left behind;
A touch, a tone, a shade, the more
To tell of what had pass'd before.
She woke the harp, and backward flung
The cloud of hair, that pall-like hung
O'er her pale brow and radiant eyes,
Wild as the light of midnight skies,
When the red meteor rides the cloud,
Telling the storm has burst its shroud:
A passionate hue was on her cheek;
Untranquil colours, such as break
With crimson light the northern sky:
Yet on her wan lip seem'd to lie
A faint sweet smile, as if not yet
It could its early charm forget.
She sang, oh! well the heart might own
The magic of so dear a tone.
I know my heart is as a grave
Where the cypress watch is keeping
Over hopes and over thoughts
In their dark silence sleeping.
Yet not the less know I that heart
Was a goal whence proud steeds started,
Though now it be a ruin'd shrine
Whose glory is departed.
For my spirit hath left her earthly home
And found a nobler dwelling,
Where the music of light is that of life,
And the starry harps are swelling.
Yet ever at the midnight hour
That spirit within me burneth,
And joy comes back on his fairy wings,
And glory to me returneth.
But a shade pass'd over the maiden's face;
Some darker image her thoughts retrace;
And so sadly the tones from the harp-strings swept,
'T was as for very pity they wept.
A faded flower, a broken gem
Are emblems mine:
The flower hath lost its loveliness
With its sun-shine;
The ruby stone no more is set
On lady's brow,
Its beauty of unsullied light
Is wanting now.
Like me, no thought of former worth
From doom will save;
They will be flung to earth and air,
I to the grave.
The lorn one with her song has pass'd,
‘T was meet such song should be the last.
Now, gentle Sleep! thy honey wing,
And roses, with thy poppies bring.
Sweet and soft be thy rest to-night;
That, at the call of Morning's light,
May crimson cheeks and radiant eyes,
Lovely as her own, arise.
END OF THE FIRST DAY.