1836 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Felicia Hemans

Anonymous, "Lines on the Anniversary of the Death of Felicia Hemans, May 16, 1836" Fraser's Magazine 14 (July 1836) 67.



Another year hath passed away!
The murmuring breezes sigh;
And, glowing with the light of May,
The pure, unclouded sky
Is bright as when thy spirit soared
Away from earth's dark clod,
When thy freed soul in glory towered
To meet and bless thy God!

Another year hath past! thy voice
Hath left the lonely cot;
The flowers that bid the earth rejoice
Proclaim that thou art not;
The children at their merry play,
Beneath the spreading bough;
The subjects of thy parted lay,—
They have no songstress now!

Still upon many a holy morn
The peasant-voices blend;
Oft as the days of rest return
"Beneath one roof they blend;"
Still rising through the clear blue skies
Ascends the voice of prayer;
And still the choirs of praise arise,
But, ah! thou art not there!

Still 'neath the cotter's lowly eaves
"The stranger's heart" finds rest;
The rustling of the foliage leaves
Sad echoes in his breast;
The memory of his distant home
Yet dims his aching eye;
But never more thy lyre shall come
To tell that agony.

The blossoms of the "breathing spring"
Once more in beauty wave;
The "wandering birds of passage" sing
O'er may a "household grave;"
But where are now thy lays of old,
Where now thy tuneful tongue?
Alas! that sorrowed form is cold—
That once sweet lyre unstrung!

Unstrung, alas! through many a year
Of grief, and care, and pain;
Those holy warblings soft and clear
Shall never wake again!
But in that fair and "better land"
Where now thy spirit roves,
That harp by heaven's own breezes fann'd
Shall breathe the song it loves!

And might'st thou from those realms of bliss,
Where joy eternal reigns,
Look down upon these humble strains;
And let thine own sweet numbers twine
To form a brighter wreath,
And add their lovelier flowers to mine,
To close this song of death.

"Calm on the bosom of thy God,
Fair spirit, rest thee now;
E'en while with ours thy footsteps trod—
His seal was on thy brow.
Dust to its narrow house beneath!
Soul to its place on high!
They that have seen thy look in death
No more may fear to die!"