When the Lamp is Shattered


          When the lamp is shattered
The light in dust lies dead -
          When the cloud is scattered
The rainbow's glory is shed.
          When the lute is broken,
Sweet tones are remembered not;
          When the lips have spoken,
Loved accents are soon forgot.


          As music and splendour
Survive not the lamp and the lute,
          The heart's echoes render
No song when the spirit is mute: -
          No song but sad dirges,
Like the wind through a ruined cell,
          Or the mournful surges
That ring the dead seaman's knell.


          When hearts have once mingled
Love first leaves the well-built nest
          The weak one is singled
To endure what it once possessed.
          O Love! who bewailest
The frailty of all things here,
          Why choose you the frailest
For your cradle, your home, and your bier?


          Its passions rock thee
As the storms rock the ravens on high;
          Bright reason will mock thee,
Like the sun from a wintry sky.
          From thy nest every rafter
Will rot, and thine eagle home
          Leave thee naked to laughter,
When leaves fall and cold winds come.