The Voice of Love

There is a voice, and there is only one,
Thrilling my bosom, as if tuned on high
Amid the spheres revolving round the sky,
Whose roll is tempered to the sweetest tone,
Whose blended harmonies are heard at night,
Now falling distant, now ascending nigh,
And with the saffron burst of dawning light
Peal like the long, loud clarion-swell of fight,
When columns in the deadly charge rush by.
As sweet, but fainter, of as a clear a note,
Yet softened into calmness, is that sound
Whose tones in recollection round me float,
Seeming to steal from some enchanted ground,
Giving the present to oblivion, throwing
Lightly around, in all its beauty glowing,
The pictured veil that gave my early days
A coming Eden, whose serene delight
Shone with a pageant more intensely bright
Than all the ever-changing pomp that plays
On Iris, when she waves her wings in flight.
So bright the tints, when first the vision shone,
Rolling its lofty arch o'er all below,
From peak to mountain-peak in glory thrown,
Resting its pillars on their icy zone,
Where myriad streams of liquid amber flow,
When the low sun, emerging from the storm,
Hangs broad and fiery on the gilded wave,
That prouder swells around the godlike form,
Who sinks, a conqueror, setting in his grave.
Such were the dazzling tints, when first they threw
Enchantment on the yet uncheated eye,
Feeding upon the beautiful and new
With all the keen delight of ecstasy;
But such they were not ever;—as the bow
Grows fainter when the setting sun retires,
And clouds and peaks no longer, in his fires,
Lift round the burning west their magic show,
Wherein the waving summit, crowned with gold,
Seems like a flash suspended on its path,
And festooned light around the tempest rolled,
The smile of beauty on the brow of wrath,—
These fade away when night assumes her reign,
Or only sicken in her paler beams,
That mark with silver lines the hill and plain,
Along the still meandering of streams;—
So life, when novelty has gone, and youth
Flitted on silent wings of down away,
When now the clear and steady torch of truth
Shows it, a moment's pride, a long decay,—
So life grows pale and cold, and chillness creeps
Through the crushed heart, elate and full before;
So glory on his broken falchion sleeps,
Nor love can fire, nor beauty madden more.
O, in that night of feeling, still one tone
Comes through the silent watches low and sweet,
And hours of happiness for ever flown
Are thronging round, and youthful pulses beat;
A fountain of deep love the heart uncloses,
And all its purest tides are flowing o'er,
And memory, from the cell where she reposes,
Brings out her fairest and her choicest store.
Fancied or real, still that voice is flinging
Its sweetness on the desert winds, and all
The seraph choirs of heaven are round me singing,
So loud and clear the tones; and now they fall,
And as they die in languishment away,
Stealing to some far-distant world above,
Methinks I hear a well-known accent say,
“Follow me,—'t is the voice of her you love.”
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