To a friend, on being asked for some verses
I thought the Soul of Song had made
This heart of mine her sepulchre;
For all her golden dreams had fled,
And I could win no note from her.
But when for thee thou bid'st her sing,
That spell dissolves her icy chain;
She slowly plumes her drooping wing,
And strikes her shattered chords again.
For more than lifeless would she be,
If thou shouldst bid her wake in vain;
And lost her chords, if still for thee
She could not wake one living strain.
For thee -- that hours of deep distress,
And days of gloom with kindness lit,
Till half I blessed the bitterness
That gave me thee to sweeten it.
For thee -- that when, despairing long,
I said, "No friend has earth for me,"
Didst bid the tones die on my tongue,
And I could utter, "only thee."
For thee -- that when my mother earth
Shall call me to her sheltering breast,
Of all I know wilt weep alone
Above my nameless place of rest.
But see! her wings refuse to fly;
Her chords are harsh from silence long;
Alas! thy gentle sorcery
Hath summoned but the ghost of Song.
She hovers o'er her living tomb,
She seeks once more her grave and chain,
As spectres haunt the midnight gloom:
Sweet friend, awake her not again.
If o'er the wind harp's gentle strings
The threatening tempest rudely flies,
It does not wake more thrilling strains --
The chords are rent, the music dies.
Thus is my harp, thus is my song --
I woo in vain its sweetness fled,
The storms have swept the chords too long,
The music of my soul is dead.