To Miss

And is it so?—a thousand miles apart,
Has lay of mine e'er touched a gifted heart?
Brightened the eye of beauty? won her smile?
Rich recompense for all the poet's toil.
That fav'ring smile, that brightened eye,
That tells the heart's warm ecstasy,
I have not seen—I may not see—
But, maiden kind! thy gift shall be
A more esteemed and cherished prize
Than fairest smiles or brightest eyes
And this rich trophy of the poet's power
Shall shine through many a lone and distant hour:
Praise from the fair, howe'er bestowed, we greet;
In words, in looks outspeaking words, 'tis sweet;
But when it breathes in bright and polished lays
Warm from a kindred heart, this, this is praise.

We are not strangers; in our hearts we own
Chords that must ever beat in unison;
The same touch wakens them: in all we see,
Or hear, or feel, we own a sympathy;
We look where nature's charms in beauty rise,
And the same transport glistens in our eyes.
The joys of others cheer us, and we keep
A ready tear, to weep with those who weep.
'Tis this, that in the impassioned hour,
Gives to the favored bard the power,
As sweetly flows the stream of song,
To bear the raptured soul along,
And make it, captive to his will,
With all his own emotions thrill.
This is a tie that binds us; 'tis the glow,
The “gushing warmth” of heart, that poets know;
We are not strangers—well thy lines impart
The patriot feeling of the poet's heart.
Not even thy praise can make me vainly deem
That 't was the poet's power, and not his theme,
That woke thy young heart's rapture, when from far
His song of vict'ry caught thy fav'ring ear:
That victory was thy country's, and his strain
Was of that starry banner that again
Had waved in triumph on the battle plain,
Yes, though Columbia's land be wide,
Though Chesapeake's broad waters glide
Far distant from the forest shores
Where Alabama's current roars;
Yet over all this land so fair
Still waves the flag of stripe and star:
Still on the Warrior's banks is seen,
And shines in Coosa's valleys green,
By Alabama's maidens sung
With patriot heart, and tuneful tongue.
Yes, I have looked around me here
And felt I was no foreigner;
Each friendly hand's frank offered clasp
Tells me it is a brother's grasp:
My own I deem these rushing floods,
My own, these wild and waving woods,
And—to a poet, sounds how dear!—
My own song sweetly chanted here
The joy with which these scenes I view
Tells me this is my country too;
These sunny plains I freely roam;
I am no outcast from a home,
No wanderer on a foreign strand,
“This is my own, my native land.”
We are not strangers: still another tie
Binds us more closely, more enduringly;
The poet's heart, though time his verse may save,
Must chill with age, and perish in the grave.
The patriot too must close his watchful eye
Upon the land he loves: his latest sigh
All he has left to give it, ere he die.
But when the Christian faith in power hath spoke
To the bowed heart, and the world's spell is broke,
That heart transformed, a never dying flame
Warms with new energy, above the claim
Of death t' extinguish;—oh! if we have felt
This holy influence, and have humbly knelt,
In penitence, for pardon; sought and found
Peace for each trouble, balm for every wound;
For us, if Faith this work of love hath done,
Not alike only are our hearts—they're one:
Our joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, the same—
One path our course, one object all our aim;
Though sundered here, one home at last is given,
Strangers to earth, and fellow heirs of heaven.

Yes! I will bear thy plausive strain afar,
A light to shine upon the clouds of care,
A flower to cheer me in life's thorny ways,
And I will think of her whose fav'ring lays
Kind greeting gave, and in the heart's best hour
For thee its warmest wishes it shall pour.

And may I hope, when this fair volume brings
Some thought of him who tried to wake the strings
Of his forgotten lyre, at thy command—
Command that warmed his heart, and nerved his hand—
Thou wilt for one, who in the world's wild strife
Is doomed to mingle in the storms of life,
Give him the blessing of a Christian's care,
And raise in his defence the shield of prayer.
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