To Charlotte Cushman

I thought thee wondrous when thy soul portrayed
The youth Verona bragged of; and the love
Of glowing, southern blood by thee was made
Entrancing as the breath of orange-grove.

I felt the spirit of the great was thine:
In the fond Boy's devotion and despair;
I knew thou wert a pilgrim at the shrine
Where GOD 's high ministers alone repair.

No rote-learned sighing filled thy doting moans;
Thy grief was heavy as thy joy was light;
Passion and Poesy were in thy tones,
And MIND flashed forth in its electric might.

I had seen many — fret and strut their hour; —
But my brain never had become such slave
To Fiction, as it did beneath thy power;
Nor owned such homage as to thee it gave.

I did not think thou couldst arouse a throb
Of deeper, stronger beating in my heart;
I did not deem thou couldst awake the sob
Of choking fulness, and convulsive start.

But thy pale madness, and thy gasping woe,
That breathed the torture of Bianca's pain;
Oh! never would my bosom ask to know
Such sad and bitter sympathy again!

When the wife's anguish sears thy hopeless cheek,
Let crowds behold and laud thee as they will;
But this poor breast, in shunning what they seek,
May yield, perchance, a richer tribute still.
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