Stanzas on the Death of Mrs Hemans

Bring flowers to crown the cup and lute,
Bring flowers, the bride is near;
Bring flowers to soothe the captive's cell,
Bring flowers to strew the bier!
Bring flowers!—thus said the lovely song;
And shall they not be brought
To her who linked the offering
With feeling and with thought?

Bring flowers, the perfumed and the pure,
Those with the morning dew,
A sigh in every fragrant leaf,
A tear on every hue.
So pure, so sweet thy life has been,
So filling earth and air
With odours and with loveliness
Till common scenes grew fair.

Thy song around our daily path
Flung beauty born of dreams,
That shadows on the actual world
The spirit's sunny gleams.
Mysterious influence, that to earth
Brings down the heaven above,
And fills the universal heart
With universal love.

Such gifts were thine—as from the block,
The unformed and the cold,
The sculptor calls to breathing life
Some shape of perfect mould;
So thou from common thoughts and things
Didst call a charmed song,
Which on a sweet and swelling tide
Bore the full soul along.

And thou from far and foreign lands
Didst bring back many a tone,
And giving such new music still,
A music of thine own.
A lofty strain of generous thoughts,
And yet subdued and sweet—
An angel's song, who sings of earth,
Whose cares are at his feet.

And yet thy song is sorrowful,
Its beauty is not bloom;
The hopes of which it breathes are hopes
That look beyond the tomb.
Thy song is sorrowful as winds
That wander o'er the plain,
And ask for summer's vanished flowers,
And ask for them in vain.

Ah, dearly purchased is the gift,
The gift of song like thine;
A fated doom is hers who stands
The priestess of the shrine.
The crowd—they only see the crown,
They only hear the hymn—
They mark not that the cheek is pale,
And that the eye is dim.

Wound to a pitch too exquisite,
The soul's fine chords are wrung;
With misery and melody
They are too highly strung.
The heart is made too sensitive
Life's daily pain to bear;
It beats in music, but it beats
Beneath a deep despair.

It never meets the love it paints,
The love for which it pines;
Too much of heaven is in the faith
That such a heart enshrines.
The meteor wreath the poet wears
Must make a lonely lot;
It dazzles only to divide
From those who wear it not.

Didst thou not tremble at thy fame
And loathe its bitter prize,
While what to others triumph seemed,
To thee was sacrifice?
Oh flower brought from paradise
To this cold world of ours,
Shadows of beauty such as thine
Recall thy native bowers.

Let others thank thee—'twas for them
Thy soft leaves thou didst wreathe;
The red rose wastes itself in sighs
Whose sweetness others breathe!
And they have thanked thee—many a lip
Has asked of thine for words,
When thoughts, life's finer thoughts, have touched
The spirit's inmost chords.

How many loved and honoured thee
Who only knew thy name;
Which o'er the weary working world
Like starry music came!
With what still hours of calm delight
Thy songs and image blend;
I cannot choose but think thou wert
An old familiar friend.

The charm that dwelt in songs of thine
My inmost spirit moved;
And yet I feel as thou hadst been
Not half enough beloved.
They say that thou wert faint and worn
With suffering and with care;
What music must have filled the soul
That had so much to spare!

Oh weary one! since thou art laid
Within thy mother's breast—
The green, the quiet mother earth—
Thrice blessed be thy rest!
Thy heart is left within our hearts
Although life's pang is o'er;
But the quick tears are in my eyes,
And I can write no more.
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