The Golden Violet with its Tales of Romance and Chivalry and Other Poems/Clemenza’s Song
There was silence around the stately hall,
For that song laid the spell of its darkness o'er all;
Some thought of their hopes now low in the tomb;
Others of hopes that were but in their bloom,
And trembled to think how frail, if how fair,
Earth's pleasures in beauty and being are;
Others had thoughts they feared to name,
As that pilgrim could read each heart in its shame:
But word or sign gave he to none,
And away like a shadow in silence hath gone.
Rose the Countess, and left her throne,
Signal it was that the meeting was done,
And spoke her summons, and graceful led
To where the sumptuous board was spread.
As in the first morning light;
Evening came, and found its hours
Vow'd to music, mirth, and flowers.
Wide ten gorgeous halls were flung,
Each with purple tapestry hung;
With wreathes, whose roses were as bright
Mirrors like the glassy plain,
Where the beauty beam'd again;
Pictures whose Italian grace
Show'd inspiration's finest trace,
To whose wing'd moods were given
Moment's visionings of heaven;
And, more than all together fair,
Follow'd by those who pleasaunce took
In converse light and curious look,
The Countess led where leaf and flower
Made one small hall an Eastern bower.
The blush acacia seem'd to keep
Watch o'er the rose's purple sleep;
And tulips, like the wine-cups stored
Round a monarch's festal board;
And the roof above, as art
Vied with nature's loveliest part,
Was so curiously inlaid,
That there another garden play'd.
No lamps amid the foliage hung,
But silver smiles the moonbeams flung;
And radiance from each distant room
Lighted the flowers' and ladies' bloom.
A harp was there. The haunt was one,
Where many a summer noon, alone,
Clemenza lent time music's wings;
And, dreaming o'er the mournful strings,
Learn'd other lessons than those taught
By pride, and wealth, and worldly thought.
Said the band round that it were shame,
Such hour should pass unhymn'd away;
And many a fair lip smiled its claim,
As echo sweet to minstrel lay.
Pray'd they the countess that her hand
Should first assume the harp's command.
She paused, then said that she would wake
One, for that nameless poet's sake;
One song snatch'd from oblivion's wave,
Like the lone lily on his grave.
My heart is like the failing hearth
Now by my side,
One by one its bursts of flame
Have burnt and died.
There are none to watch the sinking blaze,
And none to care,
Or if it kindle into strength,
Or waste in air.
My fate is as yon faded wreath
Of summer flowers;
They've spent their store of fragrant health
On sunny hours,
Which reck'd them not, which heeded not
When they were dead;
Other flowers, unwarn'd by them
Will spring instead.
And my own heart is as the lute
I am now waking;
Wound to too fine and high a pitch
They both are breaking.
And of their song what memory
Will stay behind?
An echo, like a passing thought,
Upon the wind.
Silence, forgetfulness, and rust,
Lute, are for thee:
And such my lot; neglect, the grave,
These are for me.