So wilt thou, Faithless! from me sever,
With all thy brilliant phantasy?
With all thy joys and sorrows never
For prayers or tears come back to me?
Oh, golden time of youthful life!
Can nothing, Swift One, stay thy motion?
In vain! thy waves, with ruthless strife,
Flow on to the eternal ocean.
Quenched are the glorious suns that glowing
Bright o’er my youthful pathway shone,
And thoughts the prescient heart o’erflowing
With burning inspirations, gone.
For ever fled the trusting faith
In visions of my youthful dreaming,
Reality has risen to scathe
Their all too fair and godlike gleaming.
As once with wild desire entreating,
Pygmalion the stone enclasped,
’Till o’er the marble pale lips fleeting
Life, hope, and passion glowed at last;
So, around Nature’s cold form weaving
My youthful arms, her lips I pressed,
Until her lifeless bosom heaving,
Throbbed life‐like on my poet‐breast.
An answering chord to passion’s lyre
Within her silent frame I woke;
She gave me back my kiss of fire,
And in my heart’s deep language spoke.
Then lived for me the tree, the flower,
The silver streams in music sang;
All soulless things in that bright hour,
With echoes of my spirit rang.
The while it sought with eager strife,
To clasp Creation with its arm,
And spring incarnated to life
In deed, or word, or sound, or form.
How glorious then the world upfolded,
Within its shrouding calyx seen!
How little when Time’s hand unroll’d it!
That little, oh! how poor and mean!
But, as the wayward, rippling motion
Of some bright rock‐stream gathers strength,
Until, in kingly waves of ocean,
It dashes down the height at length:
With storm, and sound, and power, crushing
The granite rock, or giant tree;
Proud in its chainless fury rushing,
To mingle with the rolling sea.
So, filled with an immortal daring,
No chains of care around his form,
Hope’s impress on his forehead bearing,
The youth sprang forth amid Life’s storm.
Ev’n to dim ether’s palest star
Wing’d fancy bore him on untiring;
Nought was too high, and nought too far,
For those strong pinions’ wild aspiring!
How swiftly did they bear him, dashing
Through all youth’s fiery heart could dare!
How danced before life’s chariot flashing
Bright aërial visions there!
Love in her sweetest beauty gleaming,
Fortune with golden diadem crown’d,
Truth like the glittering sunlight streaming,
Fame with her starry circlet bound!
Alas! those bright companions guided
Through only half of life’s dark way;
All false and fleeting, none abided
With the lone wanderer to stray.
First light, capricious Fortune vanished
Still love of lore consumed his youth;
But doubt’s dark tempest rose and banished
The sun‐bright form of radiant Truth.
I saw the sacred crown degraded,
Of Fame, upon a common brow
And, ah! ’ere yet life’s summer faded,
I saw Love’s sweetest spring‐flowers bow.
And ever silenter, and ever
Lonelier grew the dreary way
Scarce even could hope, with frail endeavour
Shed o’er the gloom a ghastly ray.
But who, amid the train false‐hearted,
Stayed lovingly with me to roam
Still from my side remains unparted,
And follows to my last dark home?
Thou, who with joys and sorrows blending,
Thy gentle hand to soothe each wound,
And bear life’s burdens, ever lending,
Thou, Friendship, early sought and found.
And thou, with Friendship wedded ever,
To calm the tempest of the soul
Exhaustless study! wearying never,
Creating while the ages roll.
Still the world‐temple calm uprearing,
Tho’ grain on grain thou can’st but lay,
And striking, with a ceaseless ceasless daring,
Time’s minutes, days, and years away.