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Like perfumes on the wind,
Which none may stay or bind,
I strive with yearnings vain,
The spirit to detain
Therefore disturbing dreams
Trouble the secret streams
And founts of music that o'erflow my breast;
Something far more divine
Than may on earth be mine, Haunts my worn heart, and will not let me rest.
Shall I then fear the tone
Surely these feverish aspirations there
Shall grasp their full desire,
And this unsettled fire,
Burn calmly, brightly, in immortal air.
One more then, one more strain,
To earthly joy and pain A rich, and deep, and passionate farewell !
I pour each fervent thought
With fear, hope, trembling, fraught, Into the notes that o'er my dust shall swell. THE IMAGE IN LAVA.*
Thou thing of years departed!
gone by, Since here the mournful seal was set
By love and agony !
Temple and tower have moulder'd,
Empires from earth have pass’d, And woman's heart hath left a trace
Those glories to outlast !
* The impression of a woman's form, with an infant clasped to the bosom, found at the uncovering of Herculaneum.
And childhood's fragile image
Thus fearfully enshrin'd, Survives the proud memorials rear'd
By conquerors of mankind.
Babe! wert thou brightly slumbering
Upon thy mother's breast, When suddenly the fiery tomb
Shut round each gentle guest ?
A strange dark fate o’ertook you,
Fair babe and loving heart!
Yet better than to part!
Haply of that fond bosom,
On ashes here impress’d,
Whereon a hope might rest.
Perchance all vainly lavish'd,
Its other love had been,
And where it trusted, nought remain'd
But thorns on which to lean.
Far better then to perish,
Thy form within its clasp, Than live and lose thee, precious one!
From that impassion'd grasp.
Oh! I could pass all relics
Left by the pomps of old,
Cast in affection's mould.
Love, human love! what art thou?
Thy print upon the dust
Outlives the cities of renown
Wherein the mighty trust!