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Love! summer flower, how soon thou art decayed!

Opening amid a paradise of sweets,

Dying with withered leaves and cankered stem!

The very memory of thy happiness

Departed with thy beauty; breath and bloom

Gone, and the trusting heart which thou hadst made

So green, so lovely, for thy dwelling-place,

Left but a desolation.


'Twas one of those sweet spots which seem just made

For lovers' meeting, or for minstrel haunt;

The maiden's blush would look so beautiful

By those white roses, and the poet's dream

Would be so soothing, lulled by the low notes

The birds sing to the leaves, whose soft reply

Is murmured by the wind: the grass beneath

Is full of wild flowers, and the cypress boughs

Have twined o'er head, graceful and close as love.

The sun is shining cheerfully, though scarce

His rays may pierce through the dim shade, yet still

Some golden hues are glancing o'er the trees,

And the blue flood is gliding by, as bright

As Hope's first smile. All, lingering, stayed to gaze

Upon this Eden of the painter's art,

And looking on its loveliness, forgot

The crowded world around them!--But a spell

Stronger than the green landscape fixed the eye--

The spell of woman's beauty!--By a beech

Whose long dark shadow fell upon the stream,


There stood a radiant girl!--her chesnut hair--

One bright gold tint was on it--loosely fell

In large rich curls upon a neck whose snow

And grace were like the swan's; she wore the garb

Of her own village, and her small white feet

And slender ancles, delicate as carved

From Indian ivory, were bare,--the turf

Seemed scarce to feel their pressure. There she stood!

Her head leant on her arm, the beech's trunk

Supporting her slight figure, and one hand

Prest to her heart, as if to still its throbs!--

You never might forget that face,--so young,

So fair, yet traced with such deep characters

Of inward wretchedness! The eyes were dim,

With tears on the dark lashes; still the lip

Could not quite lose its own accustomed smile,

Even by that pale cheek it kept its arch

And tender playfulness: you looked and said,

What can have shadowed such a sunny brow?

There is so much of natural happiness

In that bright countenance, it seems but formed

For Spring's light sunbeams, or yet lighter dews.

You turned away--then came--and looked again,

Watching the pale and silent loveliness,

Till even sleep was haunted by that image.

There was a severed chain upon the ground--

Ah! love is even more fragile than its gifts!

A tress of raven hair:--oh, only those

Whose souls hve felt this one idolatry,

Can tell how precious is the slightest thing

Affection gives and hallows! A dead flower

Will long be kept, remembrancer of looks

That made each leaf a treasure. And the tree

Had two slight words graven upon its stem--

The broken heart's last record of its faith--

"Adieu, Henri!" . . . .

. . . I learnt the history of the lovely picture:

It was a peasant girls', whose soul was given

To one as far above her as the pine

Towers o'er the lowly violet; yet still

She loved, and was beloved again--ere yet

The many trammels of the world were flung

Around a heart, whose first and latest pulse

Throbbed but for beauty: him, the young, the brave

Chivalrous Prince, whose name in after-years

A nation was to worship--that young heart

Beat with its first wild passion--that pure feeling

Life only once may know. I will not dwell

On how Affection's bark was launched and lost:--

Love, thou hast hopes like Summers, short and bright,

Moments of ecstasy, and maddening dreams,

Intense delicious throbs! But happiness

Is not for thee. If ever thou hast known

Quiet, yet deep enjoyment, 'tis or ere

Thy presence is confessed; but, once revealed,

We bow us down in passionate devotion

Vowed to thy altar, then the serpents wake

That coil around thy votaries--hopes that make

Fears burning arrows--lingering jealousy,

And last worst poison of thy cup--neglect! . . .

. . . It matters little how she was forgotten,

Or what she felt--a woman can but weep.

She prayed her lover but to say Farewell--

To meet her by the river where such hours

Of happiness had pass'd, and said she knew

How much she was beneath him; but she prayed

That he would look upon her face once more!

. . . He sought the spot--upon the beechen tree

"Adieu, Henri!" was graven, and his heart

Felt cold within him! He turned to the wave,

And there the beautiful peasant floated--Death

Had sealed love's sacrifice! . . .