- . Biographical information
- A Dirge: there Lies a Land Beyond the Wave
- A Dream of Destruction
- A Lament
- Danae, a Fragment of Simonides
- Life Is Day, and Death Is Night
- Love and Fancy
- Love's Incredulity
- On the Death of a Little Girl
- Sonnet I: Leaving his Mountain Eyrie Far Behind
- Sonnet II: Behold, on Ocean Pillowed into Rest
- Sonnet III: Dear Smiling Flowers
- Sonnet IV: With me Wouldst thou Consent to Make thy Home?
- Sonnet V: To Nature
- Sonnet VI: The Rainbow
- Sonnet VII: To S.T., a Lover of Flowers
- Sonnet VIII: Now Nature Slumbers in the Embrace of Night
- Sonnet IX: Omniscient Father, by whose Love Divine
- Sonnet X: My Heart Grows Weak, and Tears Are in my Eyes
- Sonnet XI: Memory; thou Phantom Dark of Pleasure Passed Away
- Sonnet XII: Stand Firm, Ye Few, Who in this Selfish Earth
- Sonnet XIII: Content; Why Art thou Sad?
- Sonnet XIV: Dreams
- Sonnet XV: No, Colon; thou, by Nature's Changeless Laws
- Sonnet XVI: I Fear Long Looking on my Lady's Eyes
- Sonnet XVII: And Can I E´er Forget thee
- Sonnet XVIII: To Ambition
- Stanzas: I Love the Mournful Music of the Wind
- Stanzas: Away! A Man Hath Worshipp'd thee
- The Dead Butterfly
- The LoveSick Girl and the Nightingale
- To *
- Trust no Smiles
Name: Peter John Allan
Place and date of birth: York (England); June 6, 1825
Place and date of death: Fredericton, New Brunswick (Canada); October 21, 1848 (aged 23)
Trust no Smiles
Though smiles may be the brow be shining,
Like ivy round a ruin twining;
They but portend more sure decay,
And oft, like flow'rets bright that bloom
Above the corpseconcealing tomb,
They hide a heart to grief a prey.
Trust not to smiles; still brightest fly
The lightnings in a sable sky.
Mild evening's dewy azure sleeps softly in your eyes,
And darkly brown and beautiful thy tresses down ward fall,
Like a gushing of bright waters where the forest shadow lies,
Or the purple vine, deep clustering round some stately marble hall.
And thy soft and speaking lip, dear, is like some coral bower,
Lying far away, beneath the translucent Indian wave,
Where a goddess, oceanborn, with a voice of magic power,
And her lute's divinest music, lulls the tempest in his cave.
The Dead Butterfly
Farewell, poor little winged flower,
Thy joyous life is o'er;
Thy sisters of the meadow now
Shall welcome thee no more;
Those pinions that in liquid air
Like sunbeams shone afar,
Now bruised, and dim, and motionless,
As leaves in autumn are.
Hark! Summer sends her voice of love
Through all the gladsome earth,
And bird and insect echo her
In many a song of mirth;
But thou wilt never hear again
The zephyr's balmy sighs,
Nor kiss away the crystal tears
From drooping violet's eyes.
Oh! When o'er valley, hill, and grove,
The moonbeams glisten bright,
And all the fairy train come forth,
To dance away the night,
Mayst thou, poor little butterfly,
Among that elfin band,
Sport in the everblooming bowers
Of faroff fairyland.
The Lovesick Girl and the Nightingale
Oh! Gentlest nightingale,
Once more thy plaintive tale
Repeatrepeat to me;
It will be passing sweet
My own sad thoughts to greet,
In thy soft melody.
It was but yester morn
Ere I was thus forlorn;
The merry lark I heard,
And then I did thee wrong,
In loving more her song
Than thine, O pensive bird!
For then I was as free,
And blithe and full of glee,
As any larks that sing;
But now a wretch am I,
Nor know for what I sigh,
Nor what a cure may bring.
It was but yesternight
That al my joy took flight,
When Henry bade goodbye;
For when he kiss'd my cheek,
Though nothing did he speak,
I think I heaved a sigh.
To speak not was unkind,
But a word I could not find!
My eyes did speak, I fear;
Yet why am I afraid,
If it was only truth they said?
I am sure there was a tear.
I wish I had not sighed!
I wish I had not cried!
I am always such a child;
He will soon again be here,
Why should I shed a tear,
Why could not I have smiled?
There's the nightingale again!
What a sweet and mournful strain!
The bird must mourn for love;
And the poets say and swear
That love is everywhere
Around, below, above.
O Love! if now thou art
Hidden within my heart,
When my eyes with sleep are dim,
Spread thy wing, and flee away,
And to my Henry say,
'His Ellen dreams of him'.
A Dirge; Life Is Day, and Death Is Night
Life is day, and death is night,
Bringing with it deep,
And dreams that soothe the soul, or else affright.
Life is Eden; but the tree
Of true knowledge blooms
'Mid the desert's tombs,
The cypress soon to wave o'er you and me.
Our first parents, in the groves
Of blest Paradise,
Life did sacrifice,
Exchanging hatreds for their former loves.
To the desert driven forth,
There they toiled and wept,
Till in peace they slept
Beneath the cypress, pillowed on the earth.
We, like them, are driven forth;
We must toil and weep,
Till in quiet sleep,
Beneath the cypress shade we sink to earth.
A Dirge; there Lies a Land Beyond the Wave
There lies a land beyond the wave
Of time's tempestuous flood;
Our dreary bank must be the grave,
And Death our pilot good,
If we would reach that wish'dfor land,
And mingle with its happy band.
No Envy there, a bloodhound grim,
Pursues us on our way;
The eye of Avarice is dim;
There Rapine does not prey.
We leave, in that blessed pilgrimage,
Age, and the woes that wait on age.
Then let me bid this world farewell,
And hearts I loved the best;
For who on earth would wish to dwell
When Heaven offers rest?
The gospel shall my compass be;
Now, Death, I dare put forth with thee.
A Dream of Destruction
Deep in the forest glade I laid me down
And slept; then did this vision come upon me
Sublimely terrible! Methought I saw
The earth a prey to devastating plague,
And all her children writhing on her breast
I' the death throes. And I saw a lovely girl,
Beautiful as the dying glance of day,
Kneel by her loverone whose warrior heart
Had never stoop'd to love but one; and now
Disease had wound him in her scaly folds,
And breathed her poisonous breathings into his.
But late to gentle Rosalind he sued
For bliss, which woman's love alone can give;
And now, fierce o'er his heart had come the flame
Of wild delirium; and he rav'd, and strove
To tear the dry white flesh off his bones,
Grinning with clenched teeth, and cursing life,
And her who had been more than life to him
That patient one, who kissed away the drops
Of anguish from his burning forehead. She
I saw, ere long, like to a propless vine,
Droop in the arms of Death, whose touch was here
But merciful. The man lived yet awhile,
And, stagg'ring to his feet, upreared to heaven
His fiendish eyes and loathsome countenance,
All leopardlike bespotted with the plague,
Fiercely blaspheming, till his swollen tongue
Burst, and he sank in speechlessness to die.
And now I saw a tyrant one, who made
Man's life a plaything, and I knew him not
So much by his apparel, bright with gold
And purple, like the heart's blood he had shed,
As by the look of horrible despair
That drew his lips apart, and fill'd his soul
With the intensity of hell. He lay
Upon the threshold of his palace gate,
Whither, with falt'ring footsteps, he had crept
(E'en like an ailing cur) to seek for those
Who erst had pandered to his appetites,
However base, with ready slavery;
They had deserted him in search of gold
The yellow drossto purchase which, their king
Had paid the price of peace. Blind fools! they clutch'd
The sparkling metal, merry with the thought
Of all the joys which they should taste ere long;
They clutch'd, and died. Death was their only heir;
And he, a monarch, lay, like Lazarus,
One living sore; and he was trampled down
Beneath the feet of thousands that afar
Rush'd onward, vainly seeking an egress
From a doom'd world, by any other path
Than that of dissolution. Hark! that howl,
Echoing abroad throughout the spacious earth,
Like the voiced misery of ten thousand years.
And lo! a shadowy form comes floating on,
Borne in a moving car of lurid flame,
That sweeps the globe's whole surface far and wide
Of every living, every growing thing.
Leaving them heaped in ashes. From the heaven
That giant figure gazed full fixedly
Awhile, and then, with one heartburst of woe,
That shattered into gaping ruins earth,
The phantom spake 'Time, all thy offspring dead,
Thou, too, must die!'. Then, from his burning throne,
Hurling himself, he seized, with monstrous grasp,
The motionless remains of what was earth,
Away, o'er the ocean depths, away,
Like a vulture fierce when he scents his prey,
The pirate ship is gone!
The sable flag its shadow threw
O'er the darkened brows of a bloodstained crew,
As night's a churchyard on.
Each eye had seen the lifeblood flow,
Each ear had heard the shrieks of woe,
Each hand had struck the fatal blow,
That godless crew among;
Each had the mark of wicked Cain,
Each had the everlasting stain,
That unto Judas, the Godslayer, clung.
Ripe for the pangs of hell they stood,
Each viper of that demon brood,
On ocean's trackless solitude,
Beneath an outraged Heaven.
Often before as they had sailed,
Now all their courage strangely failed,
To memory's dismal vaults their souls were driven.
Thought is a hell to sinful men,
A torment far beyond the ken
Of the earthshackled mind;
The wicked in a moment dree
The pains of an eternity,
That would for death be joyfully resigned.
Ha! why with fixed and glazing eye
Doth yonder pirate scan the sky?
What sees the murderer there?
The dews start thick upon his brow,
He points with trembling finger now,
And mutters, 'twixt his closeclenched teeth,
Lo! From a shadowy cloud, a hand
Stretches afar a fiery brand,
O'er that doom'd bark; and there,
Along its blade in letters seven,
That fill with ghastly light the heaven,
All horrorshook, they trace the word 'Despair!'.
On every side the murmuring waves
Ope their black breasts like yawning graves;
The winds howl drearily;
They can but see that awful word,
Conscience' deep voice alone is heard,
O'erta'en they feel, too late, they cannot flee.
To what shall we compare the happiness of youth?
When all things are fair unto our eyes, and the blos
Soms of the tree of life, as yet untouched, are
Bright in rosy bloom.
When eyes of angels seem to smile upon us from the
Flowers, and the breathing of the winds are
Grateful to our lips as the kisses of the one we love.
When we wander in the cool shadow of the farspread
Night, and quaff the streaming lustre of the moon
And stars, as from a fountain of sparkling wine.
When we view all things by the light of a joyous
Heart, and hope all things will be as now.
To what shall we compare the happiness of youth?
While the first pain, the earliest throb of disappoint
Ment is felt but as a thorn in a bed of roses.
Alas! The serpent pleasure attracts but to sting.
The roses of joy fade and fall away, and the thorns of
Care are yet upon the branches of life.
Lo! The winter is with usit will be always winter
Now. Spring comes not again to the aged.
To what shall we compare the happiness of youth?
To a star that dies on the bosom of morning, that
Sinks in the flood of day.
It is like a violet when the east wind bloweth.
Like a bark that is chased and struck down by Euro
Clydon, the mighty hunter of ocean.
Like a lofty tower, like a beautiful tower of fine
Marble in the arms of the earthquake, dashed
Down for ever.
Such is the happiness of youth.
When from this prisonhouse of clay
My vexed spirit shall pass away,
To the mighty land of eternity,
Oh, lay me not among mouldering bones,
Where the moon shines cold upon marble stones,
Where for ever some hopeless mourner groans
O'er the dust of them that peaceful lie.
I would not have my dwelling made
By the careless sexton's rusty spade;
Nor in silverplated coffin sleep;
No funeral wain shall bear me on
To the final home where all have gone;
Oh no; I would rest in some forest lone,
Or be cradled in the rolling deep.
In some woodland glade where the sunbeams fall
On my flowersprinkled emerald pall,
In whose shade the tuneful nightingale
Might sing my dirge to the dark blue skies,
Till tears should drop from their sparkling eyes,
And the sleeping winds awake in sighs,
And wildly join in the artless wail.
Or else in the billow's embrace I'd lie,
Where the cold green spray might o'er me fly
With a soft and pleasant murmuring,
Like the mother's lullaby above
The sleeping infant of her love;
Where the feet of the tempest alone can move,
There would I rest like an Ocean King.
Danae; a Fragment from Simonides
When now, above the fragile bark,
The howling tempest gathered dark,
And wide the foaming billows spread,
Danäe, wild with rising fears,
Her eyes bedew'd with bitter tears,
Round Perseus threw her arms, and said:
'Thou durst not guess, O babe divine!
The griefs that rend this heart of mine;
Thou sleepest on thy mother's breast,
Nor knowest how weak a bark is ours,
Nor dread'st the angry ocean's powers
The winds but lullaby thy rest.
'Wrapt in thy little cloak, my child,
Thou heed'st not the waters wild,
As o'er thy long dark hair they sweep;
My love, my life! If thou couldst see
Thy hapless mother's misery,
Those slumb'ring eyes would learn to weep.
'Yet sleep, my boyI charge thee sleep,
And slumber thou, resistless deep,
And sleep ye, too, my many woes;
Oh! grant, great Jove, a mother's prayer,
My Perseus in thy mercy spare
(Rash wish!) To punish Danäe foes'.
Love and Fancy
Love caught me (yet a little boy),
And bound me with his chains of joy;
Then with his fillet sealed mine eyes,
To all life's dark realities,
And left me blind to wander through
The maze of earth, without a clue;
But pitying my forsaken plight,
Kind Fancy left the halls of light
Love's sister, who, with gentlest art,
Extracts her cruel brother's dart,
And heals the lover's bleeding heart.
She came, and led me by the hand
Throughout Romance's fairy land,
Up Fame's rough mountain bade me climb,
And with the eagle mount sublime
The stormy winds, and strike the lyre
Shrined in the lightning's vivid fire;
There would I echo every hymn
Of the nightwatching seraphim;
And as the strings my touch beneath
Rang forth sweet music's mellow breath,
Mine eyes grew founts, whence hotly swept
Tears that 'twas rapture to have wept.
Oh! Had I from that cloudpaved height
Beheld misfortune's gath'ring night,
The shadow of each coming year,
That crushes hope and fosters fear,
How gladly had my halffreed soul
Flung off mortality's control,
And left so dark a world as this,
To dwell for aye in realms of bliss!
Tell me not that she is dead,
Motionless and cold;
Her form was made for summer flowers,
And not of common mould.
But summer flowers decay and fall
Beneath the autumn wind;
Sorrow's breath will kill like age
It kill'd thy Rosalind.
What! Those eyes of love and light,
Are they closed for aye?
They were as stars, that o'er the night
Shed a welcome ray.
Brightest stars must fade and fall;
Her eyes are sightless now;
Covered by the funeral pall
Is her pallid brow.
Lips that I have press'd to mine
In the true love kiss,
Have they ceased to whisper low
Thoughts of former bliss?
They will never turn away
From a stranger's kiss;
They have ceased to whisper low
Thoughts of former bliss.
No! That heart so kind and true,
Still it beats for me;
Rosalind, thou lov'st me still
Can Death my rival be?
Go, and lay thy hand, poor youth,
On thy loved one's breast;
All is still and silent there,
In the deathbed rest.
Ah! Thou little know'st my love;
She was faithful ever;
And her soul is mine in heaven
'Twill forget me never.
On the Death of a Little Girl
Open, ye gates of Paradise,
Be sheathed, O flaming sword.
She comes, the gentle sinless child,
To meet her sinless Lord.
Ye angels, greet her by the way,
Wreathe flowers amid her hair;
Let the voice of song go forth through heaven,
For a soul releas'd from care.
A guileless heart was hers on earth,
It look'd through smiling eyes,
And her laugh was like the wild bird's note
That floats in summer skies.
Stilled is that little loving heart,
And dim those eyes of blue,
Echo has lost your happy laugh,
And I, dear infant, you.
But it is better she is gone,
Ere yet by earth defiled,
No sin, no grief can harass her,
She now is Jesu's child.
Be this her mother's comfort here,
Her thought by day and night,
She who was once her Isabel,
Is now an angel bright.
With falling leaves and fading flowers
That loveliest flower decayed,
As autumn now on field and grove
His head had rudely laid.
The flowers and leaves will come again,
But she'll return, no never;
A blossom on the tree of life,
Where summer is for ever.
Sonnet I: Leaving his Mountain Eyrie Far Behind
Leaving his mountain eyrie far behind,
On mighty pinions swiftly borne away,
The eagle bathes his plumage in the day
Such flight is only for the giant's might.
Content am I some lowlier path to find
The sonnet's simple loveliness for me,
Whose timid muse from angry Mars would flee,
To dwell at peace with nature and mankind.
No, rather like the tuneful lark, that springs
Into the bosom of the opening morn,
Pouring her raptures o'er the verdant earth;
Still would I breathe of sweet familiar things,
In strains 'mid solitude and silence born,
And dying even as they had their birth.
Sonnet II: Behold, on Ocean Pillowed into Rest
Behold, on ocean pillowed into rest,
The weary sun his shining head reposes,
Reft of his radiant crown, but wreathed with roses,
And smiling faintly o'er the distant west.
Behind him glows like fire each mountain's crest,
The mighty pines like springing adders seem;
All glittering with the emerald's darkest green,
They threat with arrowy tongues the heaven's breast.
What silence reigns! Save where the mingled voice
Of wind and wave are whispering, as in love,
Sweet things to one another. In the deep
Day sinksthe skies grow dark, and night rejoices;
Mirth, in her countless eyes, that from above
Look down like dreams into the world of sleep.
Sonnet III: Dear Smiling Flowers
Dear smiling flowers, that over hill and dale,
Beneath the vernal sun are brightly glowing,
Like footprints where an angel hath been going,
I hear your perfume voices on the gale,
And mark your starry foreheads bright and pale,
Worship at nature's throne, from whence are flowing
The streams of light that tint your early blowing,
And make ye theme of many a poet's tale.
Your eyes at midday seem to laugh at me,
Low seated, musing in the rural shade,
Or when at eve meek vesper twinkles bright,
And I am moved to tears in sympathy,
With Philomela's wail in leafy glade;
Then shine your dewy eyes with softened light.
Sonnet IV: With me Wouldst thou Consent to Make thy Home?
With me wouldst thou consent to make thy home?
I build a palace for thee in my thought;
Though far away thy graceful form may roam,
Still is thy mem'ry with my heart enwrought;
And I behold therein all lovely things,
In all the sweetest breathings of creation.
I hear thee in the bubbling flow of springs,
The lark's ascending song of exultation,
The zephyr's sighing through the evening air;
I hear theethou art nature unto me;
And every worldly hope or feverish care
Vanishes still before one dream of thee,
Whose love can conquer e'en the fierce despair
Of knowing that thou never mine canst be.
Sonnet V: To Nature
Daughter of God! Instructress of this mind,
A mind that ever turneth unto thee,
Solace in all its miseries to find,
From thy reflections of the Deity,
Whose spirit animates a world and me,
With chains of love my fickle bosom bind,
That I thy fellowworshipper may be;
And kneeling, load with prayer and praise the wind.
In yonder sun the Maker do I see,
Whose beam sustains the life of frail mankind;
In earth and ocean, fountain, flower, and tree,
In all that lives, his spirit is enshrined;
Then to thy arms, O Nature, let me flee,
Nor live to doubt and cold despair resigned.
Sonnet VI: The Rainbow
God of creation, breathless let me bow,
Here, in the stillness of the lonely grove,
And fancy 'tis thine own majestic brow,
Radiant with smiles that speak a Father's love
For all on earth,I view above me now
Thine arch in brightness clad. I ne'er behold
Yon shining token of thy gracious vow,
That my heart flies not swiftly, uncontrolled,
And joyous as a winged bird to meet
Thy promised mercy. In that mercy bold,
May not the guilty bosom learn to beat
With hope of thy forgiveness, and unfold
Fresh leaves beneath thy fost'ring light, and bear
Fruits for repentance meet, with penitence and prayer?
Sonnet VII: To S.T., a Lover of Flowers
Angels there are who come in silent night
To close the flow'rets' eyes with welcome dew,
And watching them the hours of darkness through,
Wake them with nectar kisses into light;
So when from earth your spirit takes its flight
(Long may your sister seraphs wait for you!)
'Twill oft return old friendships to renew
With ev'ry little blossom, pale or bright,
That fills your bosom now with pure delight,
While yet a maiden in our fading bowers,
Your soft brown hair all garlanded with flowers;
Your modest charms this simple lay invite,
From one who when sweet flowers shall o'er him wave,
Would have thee visit once his lonely grave.
Sonnet VIII: Now Nature Slumbers in the Embrace of Night
Now Nature slumbers in the embrace of Night,
Her gentle breathings in my bosom move
Harmonious sympathy, and dreams of love,
Sweet thoughts that garish day will put to flight;
Then let me linger o'er them with delight,
And commune pleasantly as on I rove,
With ev'ry nightingale in yonder grove.
Or watch the bat's quick whirl, or owlet's flight,
And thou, my Song, the lispings of the heart,
Which, like the infant's stammered words, are dear,
If not to others, to the parents' ear,
Strive to express one little, smallest part
Of that wild spirit which, within me sleeping,
Is all that in my mind makes life worth keeping.
Sonnet IX: Omniscient Father, by Whose Love Divine
Omniscient Father, by whose love divine
We breathe the buoyant air of living hope,
That Faith which reads its glorious horoscope
In purer skies, whose stars for ever shine,
Oh, let my spirit kindle at the shrine
Of earth, thine altar; and amidst her choir,
Winds, waves, and all that is, let me aspire
To pour to thee, my God, the votive line.
Henceforth celestial rapture may I feel,
Akin to his who sang creation's doom;
Obedient still to conscience's appeal,
In life's sweet twilight shun the bigot's gloom,
And, heeding all that Nature's lips reveal,
Move with a Christian's triumph to the tomb.
Sonnet X: My Heart Grows Weak, and Tears Are in my Eyes
My heart grows weak, and tears are in my eyes,
When I behold how many a lofty brow
Before the idol, Interest, deigns to bow
Submissive. Ev'ry thought of high emprize,
Valour, religion, love (the strongest ties
'Twixt God and man), we tremble to avow.
As in the days of old it is not now
All brotherhood as folly we despise.
A pampered steed, a very dog, we prize
Beyond our fellowmortals; nor confess
Emotions soft of manly tenderness.
Lest the cold world should laugh to hear our sighs,
Break, selfish heart, whene'er our souls shall prove
Deaf to the thrilling voice of pity, virtue, love.
Sonnet XI: Memory: Thou Phantom Dark of Pleasure Passed Away
Thou phantom dark of pleasure passed away,
Grim ghost of buried time, fell Memory,
Hie to Ambition's hall, there seek thy prey;
But leave this spirit from thy fetters free,
I cannot, and I will not, dwell with thee,
Whose glance malign, like deadly lightning scars,
Thou mak'st this beauteous world a dreary sea,
Where man is wrecked by selfcreated fears
That to a moment give the force of years;
And, in the whirlpool of black despair,
Engulph his sinking soul Away, weak tears,
My bark the sails of Faith shall safely bear,
While Hope, with eye and hand, intrepid steers
To the one land unvisited by care.
Sonnet XII: Stand Firm, Ye Few; Who in this Selfish Earth
Stand firm, ye few, who in this selfish earth
Hold independence as your best estate,
And by that creed are made more truly great
Than ever tyrant was, whose rule was dearth,
And woe, and desolation. Ye whom fate
Compels to sit in shade of no man's gate,
And beg for power or peace; ye whose dear hearth
Is hedged around with faces beaming mirth
And beautiful contentment, still, oh! Still,
For Freedom's noble birthright live and die.
In peace the holy offices fulfil
Of charity and love; but when the cry
Of greedy foes to England menace ill,
Arise, and smite their legions hip and thigh.
Sonnet XIII: Content; Why Art thou Sad?
Why art thou sad? The earth, the heaven, the sea,
Though each hath changes like the human heart
(Changes from light to darkness), they to me
The simple lesson of content impart.
Why pluck the olivebranch to form a dart
With which to wound thy spirit? Learn to bear
Patiently ev'ry ill; for with the smart
Ofttimes comes good; then laugh at grim despair.
As the sun tints the cloud in azure air
With silv'ry radianceas the ocean keeps
A solemn calmness in her lowest deeps,
Let blest content, amid the thorns of care,
Plant roses; and, when weaker nature weeps,
Oh! Let the soul her holy influence share.
Sonnet XIV: Dreams
Dreams are the fairies beneath wisdom's reign,
All banished from the cheerful light of day;
And in the darksome chambers of the brain,
Like moping nuns, are destined to remain.
But oft at midnight's hour they break away,
When reason, their gruff jailor, nods, and pay
Gossiping visits to their friends around,
In ocean, air, on earth, and underground.
Ofttimes they join Titania's fairy train,
Where, with winged feet, in wild sequestered glade,
They circle some vast oak of ancient shade,
Merrily till the morn; when, caught again,
They to their nunnery are once more conveyed.
Sonnet XV: No, Colon, thou, by Nature´S Changeless Laws
[The two following Sonnets originally appeared as translations
from the Italian. The former is supposed to be addressed
by a friend to Columbus, then about to depart on his second
No, Colon; thou, by Nature's changeless laws,
Wast formed to breathe the atmosphere of fame
(I live on love's thin air). Despair's fell name
Can never fill with fright thy soul of flame
A soul that disappointments fail to tame.
On! on! thy fate points onwards; thou must reap
Thine immortality upon the deep.
Wide continents their great discoverer claim,
But bid me not go with thee. I am one
Whose heart is of a weaker love than thine;
It teaches me the treacherous wave to shun;
Nor all the wealth of Ophir's richest mine
Could tempt me to desert Italia's sun,
The land of deathless song, ripe lips, and ruby wine.
Sonnet XVI: I Fear Long Looking on my Lady´s Eyes
(Read note on the last sonnet).
'I fear long looking on my lady's eyes,
That rival yonder sun's refulgent light,
May yet, perchance, destroy the bliss of sight'.
So did I speak, determined to be wise,
And turned my gaze aside, but heaviest sighs
Shook my poor heart, and I had died outright
If once again their glance (alas! How bright)
Had not revived me. All in vain he tries
To 'scape who carries in himself a foe,
And death is worse than blindness. Should it be
The will of fate that I must cease to see,
My latest look on her I will bestow,
Whom, but to be permitted to behold,
Is worth a Caesar's fame, a Croesus' hoarded gold.
Sonnet XVII: And Can I E´er Forget thee
And can I e'er forget thee, though thou art
Far from the arms that fain would clasp thee now?
No, loved one of the fair unclouded brow,
I still embrace thee in a changeless heart,
And never shall the hallowed mem'ry part
From this sad spirit of the hours we spent
Together beneath hope's blue firmament;
When casting off thy sex's bashful art,
Thou didst confess I had not loved in vain.
Then were the fountains of my soul unsealed,
I melted into tears, sweet tears that yield
More bliss than smiles enshrine. The summer's rain
Fostereth the drooping rose, love brighter beams
When on the passionflower a teardrop gleams.
Sonnet XVIII: To Ambition
How desolate the human heart without
Thee, soulsustaining passion! Like some hall,
Where long has ceased to peal the merry shout
Of revellers, who now are sleeping all
Within the circle of a churchyard wall;
Or the unworn cuirasss [sic], a wreck all red
With rust of long disuse. Thy magic thrall
Strengthens its captive. Thoughts that long seemed dead
Revive like dewcrushed flowers beneath thy ray.
Thou bidst the weary mind spring forth anew,
(Swift as the steed) upon the thorny way
To power. More miracles thy medicines do
Than erst Siloam's wave. Oh, never may
My soul be severed from thy healthful sway.
I love the mournful music of the wind
Among the willows on an autumn eve,
Sighing as though some gentle spirit pined,
Condemn'd the joyous scenes of earth to leave
For those dull slumbers that are said to bind
In deathunhallow'd deaththe hapless fairykind.
I love the hoarse, farrolling waves to hear,
Bellow their rage along the sterile shore;
I love to mark the heavens frown severe
With dense black clouds, whence rolls the thun der's roar'
And the fork'd lightning God's avenging spear
Dart on its fiery track, o'erwhelming all with fear.
Away! A man hath worshipp'd thee
Hath knelt thy love to gain;
A bard hath wak'd his harp to thee
In many a glowing strain;
Yet thou couldst coldly turn away
From lover's vows and poet's lay.
Oh! Had thy bosom ever known
That spark of birth divine,
My heart had found an answering tone
In every pulse of thine;
And when I touch'd the ardent lyre,
Thou wouldst have felt a kindred fire.
But no! Too hard that heart of thine
For passion's sun to melt;
No child of pride or avarice
Could feel as I have felt;
I would have given my life for thee,
And thou hadst not a smile for me.
Away! Thy place is with the vain,
The world her votary claims;
Broken for aye is fancy's chain,
And served are our names;
Away! Deceit is on thy brow;
I would not could not love thee now.
Peter John Allan