The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler/Sadness


Shine not on me, oh, moon! with the weak light
Of thy still beauty, mocking the turmoil
Of this tumultuous and jarring world,
With thy serenity, as if it were
Thy satellite, and thou didst deem it scorn
To let her passions move thee. I am sad—
And how may I have fellowship with thee,
Thou thing of perfect brightness? If the clouds
That sometimes pass athwart thy lovely brow
And shadow it as with a pensive thought,
Were round about thee now, with thy mild veil,
I would not turn from gazing;—but away,—
Thou art too brilliant for a tearful eye!
And mine is dim in sympathy and shame,
For the heart-broken, and the guilty ones,
Of my star-banner'd land.
The blessed breeze!
How most deliciously its coolness comes
With its soft stealing touch, to charm away
The slow, dull fever of my heavy brow;
And as I close beneath it, my wet lids,
To dry away their tears.—Yet is't not strange
How lightly it e'en bears its load of sighs!
Why, 't is from the soft south—the guilty south!
Where those who should lift up a free clear brow
To the pure light of Heaven, go bending down
The clouded forehead, ‘neath the heavy shame
Of painful fetters, to the very grave.
How, then, light thing of music, how canst thou
Come thus, all gladness, from the burial-place
Of the heart's best affections? Didst thou not
A moment check the fluttering of thy wings
To listen to the voice of woman's grief,
Lamenting for her lost ones? Hence with thee!—
Thou seem'st to me as thou wert made of sighs,
And the beseeching breath of woman's prayers,
Poured out to hearts that knew not how to feel!
Woe for man's selfishness! I will go in
And cover up my brow in the dull light,
As with a mourner's garment.