Felicia Dorothea Hemans

25 September 1793 – 16 May 1835 / Liverpool, England

The Laplander To His Rein-Deer

HOW long, oh, my faithful companion and guide!
Thou hast wafted o'er deserts my car!
How oft, oh, my rein-deer! thy speed has been tried,
O'er mountains unknown and afar!

But thy youth is departed, thy fire is no more,
And thy limbs all their vigor have lost;
For age steals upon thee, relentless and hoar,
And colder than winter his frost!

When friendship, or pleasure, invited away,
Thou hast borne me o'er valleys and plains;
Untir'd with the dangers, the toils of the day,
While the road was beguil'd by my strains!

When love gave the word, o'er the landscape of snow,
We flew like the wings of the wind!
In this ice-cover'd region, his sun-beam may glow,
To melt and to soften the mind!

But thy youth is departed, thy spirit and grace,
And thy limbs all their vigor have lost;
For age steals upon thee with lingering pace,
And colder than winter his frost.

How oft has the summer, in mantle of green,
Array'd the wild Tenglio's side;
Since thou, oh, my rein-deer! my servant hast been,
My faithful companion and guide!

When we journey'd together, and both in our prime,
How fleet were thy steps o'er the waste;
But fleeter than thee, oh, my rein-deer! is time,
More swift, more unsparing in haste!

For thy youth is departed, thy spirit is fled,
And thy limbs all their vigor have lost;
Now age steals upon thee, unwelcome and dread,
And colder than winter his frost!
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