1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Felicia Hemans

G., "To Mrs. Hemans, written after reading her beautiful Lines, 'The Better Land'" The Kaleidoscope [Liverpool] NS 7 (26 December 1826) 200.



O, gifted of the muse divine,
O, favoured of th' immortal nine,
Whose laurel-wreathed, and glittering shell,
Did erst delight of arms to tell,
And wont, in proudly-sounding lay,
The captive soul to bear away,
Enamoured of heroic story,
Of Rome, in days of pristine glory,
Of Greece, the loved of arts and arms,
Herself a paradise of charms!
Delightful Hemans! now afar
Dies on the gale the cry of war,
And purer, loftier themes inspire
The breathings of thy melting lyre,
Than ever on the heart-strings smote
From Fame's loud-echoing trumpet note!
For now attuned, thy attic lyre
To lays that holiest thoughts inspire;
And now thy dreamings, minstrel bland,
Are of that happier, better land,
Where shines the sun with fearless ray,
Glorious through one eternal day;
And other scenes thy heart engage
Than stamp'd on war's ensanguin'd page,
And tow'ring with an eagle's might
Through realms ineffable of light:
'Tis thine, with master hand sublime,
To point so fair that blessed clime,
"Far o'er the clouds beyond the tomb,
Where Time breathes not on fadeless bloom!"
That the charmed spirit, heavenward led,
Scorns the dull earth yet doom'd to tread;
Prunes its glad wing, and joyful speeds,
With thee, o'er myrtle blossom'd meads;
Jerusalem's city-gate unfolds,
Her gorgeous palaces beholds,
And calm the hour, and fair the scene,
So purely sacred and serene,
That lost, entranced, forgot its clay,
The feeble insect of a day;
Wrapt in an ecstasy of bliss,
Pants to o'erstep Time's dark abyss!

Pursue, sweet Muse! thy starry flight
Far o'er this lower world of night;
And bid thy heavenly-tutor'd lyre
Still glow with more than mortal fire;
Till mute its chords, thy gifted hand
The lyre shall sweep in happier land;
Till thine, O, Hemans! given to shine
An angel minstrel, all divine!
Liverpool.