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Lydia Huntley Sigourney (Лидия Сигурни)


The Dying Philosopher


I have crept forth to die among the trees.
They have sweet voices that I love to hear,
Sweet, lute-like voices. They have been as friends
In my adversity-when sick and faint
I stretched me in their shadow all day long,
They were not weary of me. They sent down
Soft summer breezes, fraught with pitying sighs,
To fan my blanching cheek. Their lofty boughs
Pointed with thousand fingers to the sky,
And round their trunks the wild vine fondly clung,
Nursing her clusters; and they did not check
Her clasping tendrils, nor deceive her trust,
Nor blight her blossoms, and go towering up
In their cold stateliness, while on the earth
She sank to die. But thou, rejoicing bird,
Why pourest thou such a rich and mellow lay
On my dull ear? Poor bird!-I gave thee crumbs,
And fed thy nested little ones! so thou
(Unlike to man!) thou dost remember it.
O mine own race!-how ohen have ye sate
Gathered around my table, shared my cup,
And worn my raiment-yea, far more than this,
Been sheltered in my bosom, but to turn
And lift the heel against me, and cast out
My bleeding heart in morsels to the world,
Like catering cannibals. Take me not back
To those imprisoning curtains, broidered thick
With pains, beneath whose sleepless canopy
I've pined away so long. The purchased care,
The practiced sympathy, the fawning tone
Of him who on my vesture casteth lots,
The weariness, the secret measuring
How long I have to live, the guise of grief
So coarsely worn-I would not longer brook
Such torturing ministry. Let me die here-
'Tis but a little while. Let me die here.
Have patience, Nature, with thy feeble son,
So soon to be forgot, and from thine arms
Thou gentle mother, from thy true embrace,
Let my freed spirit pass. Alas! how vain
The wreath that Fame would bind around our tomb-
The winds shall waste it, and the worms destroy,
While from its home of bliss the disrobed soul
Looks not upon its greenness, nor deplores
Its withering loss. Thou who hast toiled to earn
The fickle praise of far posterity,
Come, weigh it at the grave's brink, here with me,
If thou canst weigh a dream. Hail, holy stars!
Heaven's stainless watchers o'er a world of woe,
Look down once more upon me. When again,
In solemn night's dark regency, ye ope
Your searching eyes, me shall ye not behold
Among the living. Let me join the song
With which ye sweep along your glorious way;
Teach me your hymn of praise. What have I said?
I will not learn of you, for ye shall fall.
Lo! with swift wing I mount above your spheres,
To see the Invisible, to know the Unknown,
To love the Uncreated! Earth, farewell! 



Lydia Huntley Sigourney's other poems:
  1. Death of an Infant
  2. The Coral Insect
  3. Flora's Party
  4. With Wild Flowers To a Sick Friend
  5. I Must Not Tease My Mother


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