1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Kirke White

A Lady of Massachusetts, "Lines written after reading the Life of Henry K. White" Southern Evangelical Intelligencer [Charleston] (6 May 1820).



I saw a drop whose trembling rays,
Was bosom'd by a flower;
A sun-beam drew the gem away,
But fancy in its gentle sway,
Pursued it to a brighter day,
Gliding a fairer flower.

I saw a star, whose sparkling beam
Nature had fondly given;
I viewed it on the blue sky stream,
And, as I watched its parting gleam,
Imagination's wakeful dream
Pursued its light to heaven.

I heard a strain of music steal
On evening's sacred hour;
Giving that bliss which few can feel—
It ceas'd — but fancy still reveal'd,
That rising to a brighter field,
It charm'd a higher power.

Thus HENRY trembled for a time
On earth's fast changing bloom,
Then died — but now, a gem divin,
Has triumph'd o'er the tomb.

Thus HENRY shed his sparkling gleam,
In fortune's changeful sky;
Then fled — but blest with brighter beam,
He shines a star on high.

Thus HENRY'S strains of sweetness stole
On each enraptur'd ear;
Then ceas'd — but now, a purer soul,
He sings, and angels hear!

The gem that sweetly trembles now,
The star that gilds the sky,
Soft music, soothing sorrow's brow,
Must quickly fade and die—
The soul alone will ne'er decay,
But sparkle in eternal day.