Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
Miscellaneous Poems.
I. Felicia Hemans
By Lætitia Elizabeth Maclean (1802–1838)
 
NO more, no more—oh, never more returning,
  Will thy beloved presence gladden earth;
No more wilt thou with sad, yet anxious yearning
  Cling to those hopes which have no mortal birth.
Thou art gone from us, and with thee departed,        5
  How many lovely things have vanished too;
Deep thoughts that at thy will to being started,
  And feelings, teaching us our own were true.
Thou hast been round us, like a viewless spirit,
  Known only by the music on the air;        10
The leaf or flowers which thou hast named inherit
  A beauty known but from thy breathing there:
For thou didst on them fling thy strong emotion,
  The likeness from itself the fond heart gave;
As planets from afar look down on ocean,        15
  And give their own sweet image to the wave.
 
And thou didst bring from foreign lands their treasures
  As floats thy various melody along;
We know the softness of Italian measures,
  And the grave cadence of Castilian song.        20
A general bond of union is the poet,
  By its immortal verse is language known,
And for the sake of song do others know it—
  One glorious poet makes the world his own.
And thou—how far thy gentle sway extended!        25
  The heart’s sweet empire over land and sea;
Many a stranger and far flower was blended
  In the soft wreath that glory bound for thee.
The echoes of the Susquehanna’s waters
  Paused in the pine-woods words of thine to hear;        30
And to the wide Atlantic’s younger daughters
  Thy name was lovely, and thy song was dear.
 
Was not this purchased all too dearly?—never
  Can fame atone for all that fame hath cost.
We see the goal, but know not the endeavour,        35
  Nor what fond hopes have on the way been lost.
What do we know of the unquiet pillow,
  By the worn cheek and tearful eyelid prest,
When thoughts chased thoughts, like the tumultuous billow,
  Whose very light and foam reveals unrest?        40
We say, the song is sorrowful, but know not
  What may have left that sorrow on the song;
However mournful words may be, they show not
  The whole extent of wretchedness and wrong.
They cannot paint the long sad hours, passed only        45
  In vain regrets o’er what we feel we are.
Alas! the kingdom of the lute is lonely—
  Cold is the worship coming from afar.
 
Yet what is mind in woman, but revealing
  In sweet clear light the hidden world below,        50
By quicker fancies and a keener feeling
  Than those around, the cold and careless, know?
What is to feed such feeling, but to culture
  A soil whence pain will never more depart?
The fable of Prometheus and the vulture        55
  Reveals the poet’s and the woman’s heart.
Unkindly are they judged—unkindly treated—
  By careless tongues and by ungenerous words;
While cruel sneer, and hard reproach, repeated,
  Jar the fine music of the spirit’s chords.        60
Wert thou not weary—thou whose soothing numbers
  Gave other lips the joy thine own had not?
Didst thou not welcome thankfully the slumbers
  Which closed around thy mourning human lot?
 
What on this earth could answer thy requiring,        65
  For earnest faith—for love, the deep and true,
The beautiful, which was thy soul’s desiring,
  But only from thyself its being drew.
How is the warm and loving heart requited
  In this harsh world, where it awhile must dwell.        70
Its best affections wronged, betrayed, and slighted—
  Such is the doom of those who love too well.
Better the weary dove should close its pinion,
  Fold up its golden wings and be at peace:
Enter, O ladye, that serene dominion        75
  Where earthly cares and earthly sorrows cease.
Fame’s troubled hour has cleared, and now replying,
  A thousand hearts their music ask of thine.
Sleep with a light, the lovely and undying
  Around thy grave—a grave which is a shrine.        80
 
 
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