Or, when brown Autumn touched the leaves with age,
The heavens became the young Enthusiast’s page
Wherein his fancy read; and they would then,
Hand locked in hand, forsake the haunts of men;
Communing with the silver queen of night,
Which, as a spirit, shone upon their sight,
Full orbed in maiden glory; and her beams
Fell on their hearts, like distant shadowed gleams
Of future joy and undefined bliss—
Half of another world and half of this.
Then, rapt in dreams, oft would he gazing stand,
Grasping in his her fair and trembling hand,
And thus exclaim, “Helen, when I am gone,
When that bright moon shall shine on you alone,
And but one shadow on the river fall—
Say, wilt thou then these heavenly hours recall?
Or read, upon the fair moon’s smiling brow
The words we’ve uttered—those we utter now?
Or think, though seas divide us, I may be
Gazing upon that glorious orb with thee
At the same moment—hearing, in its rays,
The hallowed whisperings of early days!
For, oh, there is a language in its calm
And holy light, that hath a power to balm
The troubled spirit, and like memory’s glass,
Make bygone happiness before us pass.”
Or, they would gaze upon the evening star,
Blazing in beauteous glory from afar,
Dazzling its kindred spheres, and bright o’er all,
Like LOVE on the Eternal’s coronal;
Until their eyes its rays reflected, threw
In glances eloquent—though words were few;
For well I ween, it is enough to feel
The power of such an hour upon us steal,
As if a holy spirit filled the air,
And nought but love and silence might be there—
Or whispers, which, like Philomel’s soft strains,
Are only heard to tell that silence reigns.
Yet, he at times would break the hallowed spell,
And thus in eager rhapsodies would dwell
Upon the scene: “O’er us rolls world on world,
Like the Almighty’s regal robes unfurled;—
O’erwhelming, dread, unbounded, and sublime—
Eternity’s huge arms that girdle time
And roll around it, marking out the years
Of this dark spot of sin amidst the spheres!
For, oh, while gazing upon worlds so fair,
’Tis hard to think that sin has entered there;
That those bright orbs which now in glory swim,
Should e’er for man’s ingratitude be dim!
Bewildered, lost, I cast mine eyes abroad,
And read on every star the name of GOD!
The thought o’erwhelms me!—Yet, while gazing on
Yon star of love, I cannot feel alone;
For wheresoe’er my after lot may be,
That evening star shall speak of home and thee.
Fancy will view it o’er yon mountain’s brow
That sleeps in solitude before us now;
While memory’s lamp shall kindle at its rays,
And light the happy scenes of other days—
Such scenes as this; and then the very breeze
That with it bears the odour of the trees,
And gathers up the meadow’s sweet perfume,
From off my clouded brow, shall chase the gloom
Of sick’ning absence; for the scented air
To me wafts back remembrance, as the prayer
Of lisping childhood is remembered yet,
Like living words, which we can ne’er forget.”