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Poem by Felicia Dorothea Hemans

The Spanish Chapel

I made a mountain-brook my guide
 Thro' a wild Spanish glen,
And wandered, on its grassy side,
 Far from the homes of men.

It lured me with a singing tone,
 And many a sunny glance,
To a green spot of beauty lone,
 A haunt for old romance.

A dim and deeply-bosom'd grove
 Of many an aged tree,
Such as the shadowy violets love,
 The fawn and forest-bee.

The darkness of the chestnut bough
 There on the waters lay,
The bright stream reverently below,
 Check'd its exulting play;

And bore a music all subdued,
 And led a silvery sheen,
On thro' the breathing solitude
 Of that rich leafy scene.

For something viewlessly around
 Of solemn influence dwelt,
In the soft gloom and whispery sound,
 Not to be told, but felt;

While sending forth a quiet gleam
 Across the wood's repose,
And o'er the twilight of the stream,
 A lowly chapel rose.

A pathway to that still retreat
 Thro' many a myrtle wound,
And there a sightâhow strangely sweet!
 My steps in wonder bound.

For on a brilliant bed of flowers,
 Even at the threshold made,
As if to sleep thro' sultry hours,
 A young fair child was laid.

To sleep?âoh! ne'er on childhood's eye,
 And silken lashes press'd,
Did the warm living slumber lie,
 With such a weight of rest!

Yet still a tender crimson glow
 Its cheek's pure marble dyedâ
'Twas but the light's faint streaming flow
 Thro' roses heap'd beside.

I stoop'dâthe smooth round arm was chill,
 The soft lip's breath was fled,
And the bright ringlets hung so stillâ
 The lovely child was dead!

"Alas!" I cried, "fair faded thing!
 Thou hast wrung bitter tears,
And thou hast left a wo, to cling
 Round yearning hearts for years!"

But then a voice came sweet and lowâ
 I turn'd, and near me sate
A woman with a mourner's brow,
 Pale, yet not desolate.

And in her still, clear, matron face,
 All solemnly serene,
A shadow'd image I could trace
 Of that young slumberer's mien.

"Stranger! thou pitiest me," she said,
 With lips that faintly smil'd,
"As here I watch beside my dead,
 My fair and precious child.

"But know, the time-worn heart may be
 By pangs in this world riven,
Keener than theirs who yield, like me,
 An angel thus to Heaven!"

Felicia Dorothea Hemans

Felicia Dorothea Hemans's other poems:
  1. A Farewell to Abbotsford
  2. A Remembrance of Grasmere
  3. Scene in a Dalecarlian Mine
  4. The Dial of Flowers
  5. The Vassals Lament for the Fallen Tree

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