Felicia Dorothea Hemans

(25 September 1793 – 16 May 1835 / Liverpool, England)

An Hour Of Romance


There were thick leaves above me and around,
And low sweet sighs like those of childhood's sleep,
Amidst their dimness, and a fitful sound
As of soft showers on water; dark and deep
Lay the oak shadows o'er the turf, so still
They seem'd but pictured glooms: a hidden rill
Made music, such as haunts us in a dream,
Under the fern-tufts; and a tender gleam

Of soft green light, as by the glow-worm shed,
Came pouring thro' the woven beech-boughs down,
And steep'd the magic page wherein I read
Of royal chivalry and old renown,
A tale of Palestine. Meanwhile the bee
Swept past me with a tone of summer hours,
A drowsy bugle, wafting thoughts of flowers,
Blue skies, and amber sunshine: brightly free,
On filmy wings the purple dragon-fly
Shot glancing like a fairy javelin by;
And a sweet voice of sorrow told the dell
Where sat the lone wood-pigeon:
But ere long,
All sense of these things faded, as the spell
Breathing from that high gorgeous tale grew strong
On my chain'd soul: 'twas not the leaves I heard
A Syrian wind the Lion-banner stirr'd,
Thro' its proud, floating folds: 'twas not the brook,
Singing in secret thro' its grassy glen;
A wild shrill trumpet of the Saracen
Peal'd from the desert's lonely heart, and shook
The burning air. Like clouds when winds are high,
O'er glittering sands flew steeds of Araby,
And tents rose up, and sudden lance and spear
Flash'd where a fountain's diamond wave lay clear,
Shadow'd by graceful palm-trees. Then the shout
Of merry England's joy swell'd freely out,
Sent thro' an eastern heaven, whose glorious hue
Made shields dark mirrors to its depths of blue:
And harps were there; I heard their sounding strings,
As the waste echoed to the mirth of kings.
The bright masque faded. Unto life's worn track,
What call'd me from its flood of glory, back?
A voice of happy childhood! and they pass'd,
Banner, and harp, and Paynim's trumpet's blast;
Yet might I scarce bewail the splendours gone,
My heart so leap'd to that sweet laughter's tone.

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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