Song (THE stars their early vigils keep)
WRITTEN FOR THE DINNER GIVEN TO CHARLES DICKENS BY THE YOUNG MEN OF BOSTON, FEBRUARY 1, 1842
THE stars their early vigils keep, The silent hours are near, When drooping eyes forget to weep,— Yet still we linger here; And what—the passing churl may ask— Can claim such wondrous power, That Toil forgets his wonted task, And Love his promised hour? The Irish harp no longer thrills, Or breathes a fainter tone; The clarion blast from Scotland's hills, Alas! no more is blown; And Passion's burning lip bewails Her Harold's wasted fire, Still lingering o'er the dust that veils The Lord of England's lyre. But grieve not o'er its broken strings, Nor think its soul hath died, While yet the lark at heaven's gate sings, As once o'er Avon's side; While gentle summer sheds her bloom, And dewy blossoms wave, Alike o'er Juliet's storied tomb And Nelly's nameless grave. Thou glorious island of the sea! Though wide the wasting flood That parts our distant land from thee, We claim thy generous blood; Nor o'er thy far horizon springs One hallowed star of fame, But kindles, like an angel's wings, Our western skies in flame!
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