1828 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Felicia Hemans

Genevra, "To Mrs. Hemans, on her intended Publication, entitled, Records of Woman" Blackwood's Magazine 23 (May 1828) 642.



"Records of Woman!" — shall they not be fair,
Born in thy soul's pure depths, and garner'd there,
'Mid thoughts of loftier birth, and sunnier clime,
Breathing Heaven's fragrance o'er frail flow'rs of Time?
"Records of Woman!" — shall they not be bright,
By Fancy's pencil traced, in hues of light,
Upon the clear cerulean skies that shed
Eternal sunshine round the Poet's head?
Shall not their source be deep — when every thought
Is with a gifted sister's instinct fraught?—
When the enchanted lyre in every tone
Breathes but some mystic feeling all her own?—
If thoughts heroic soar their reckless way
Like captive eaglets rushing to the day—
While notes that wake the very soul of grief,
Seem the imprison'd nightingale's relief—
And heav'n-born tones, too deathless to be mute,
Sigh from the fragments of the shiver'd lute,
Shall not the soul, responsive to thy skill,
In smiles, in tears, in death — be Woman's still?

'Twill be as when the eye entranced explores
The sunlit peaks, deep vales, and forests green,
Earth's lavish gems encircling Leman's shores
With zone of matchless beauty. Lo! the scene
Grows lovelier still — the unsullied waters lend
Their magic mirror — hues ethereal blend
With tints of earth. Alas; for painter's art
Foil'd by this mirror! — Thine is in thy heart!