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Washington Allston (Вашингтон Олстон)


 Addressed to a Lady, who lamented 
that she had never been in love.

                 "Al nuovo giorno,
    Pietosa man' mi sollevo."


"Ah me! how sad," Myrtilla cried,
  "To waste alone my years!"
While o'er a streamlet's flow'ry side
She pensive hung, and watch'd the tide
  That dimpled with her tears.

"The world, though oft to merit blind,
  Alas, I cannot blame;
For they have oft the knee inclined.
And pour'd the sigh--but, like the wind
  Of winter, cold it came.

"Ah no! neglect I cannot rue."
  Then o'er the limpid stream
She cast her eyes of ether blue;
Her wat'ry eyes look'd up to view
  Their lovelier parent's beam.

And ever as the sad lament
  Would thus her lips divide,
Her lips, like sister roses bent
By passing gales, elastick sent
  Their blushes from the tide.

While mournful o'er her pictur'd face
  Did then her glances steal,
She seem'd she thought a marble Grace,
T' enslave with love the human race,
  But ne'er that love to feel.

"Ah, what avail those eyes replete
  With charms without a name!
Alas, no kindred rays they meet,
To kindle by collision sweet
  Of mutual love the flame!

"Oh, 'tis the worst of cruel things,
  This solitary state!
Yon bird that trims his purple wings,
As on the bending bow he swings.
  Prepares to join his mate.

"The little glow-worm sheds her light,
  Nor sheds her light in vain--
That still her tiny lover's sight
Amid the darkness of the night
  May trace her o'er the plain.

"All living nature seems to move
  By sympathy divine--
The sea, the earth, the air above;
As if one universal love
  Did all their hearts entwine!

"My heart alone of all my kind
  No love can ever warm:
That only can resemblance find
With waste Arabia, where the wind
  Ne'er breathes on human form;

"A blank, embodied space, that knows
  No changes in its reign,
Save when the fierce tornado throws
Its barren sands, like drifted snows,
  In ridges o'er the plain."

Thus plain'd the maid; and now her eyes
  Slow-lifting from the tide,
Their liquid orbs with sweet surprise
A youth beheld in extacies,
  Mute standing by her side.

"Forbear, oh, lovely maid, forbear,"
  The youth enamour'd cried,
"Nor with Arabia's waste compare
The heart of one so young and fair,
  To every charm allied.

"Or, if Arabia--rather say,
  Where some delicious spring
Remurmurs to the leaves that play
Mid palm and date and flow'ret gay,
  On zephyr's frolick wing.

"And now, methinks, I cannot deem
  The picture else but true;
For I a wand'ring trav'ller seem
O'er life's drear waste, without a gleam
  Of hope--if not in you."

Thus spake the youth; and then his tongue
  Such converse sweet distill'd,
It seem'd, as on his words she hung,
As though a heavenly spirit sung,
  And all her soul he fill'd.

He told her of his cruel fate,
  Condemn'd along to rove,
From infancy to man's estate,
Though courted by the fair and great,
  Yet never once to love.

And then from many a poet's page
  The blest reverse he proved:
How sweet to pass life's pilgrimage,
From purple youth to sere old age,
  Aye loving and beloved!

Here ceased the youth; but still his words
  Did o'er her fancy play;
They seem'd the matin song of birds,
Or like the distant low of herds
  That welcomes in the day.

The sympathetick chord she feels
  Soft thrilling in her soul;
And, as the sweet vibration steals
Through every vein, in tender peals
  She seems to hear it roll.

Her alter'd heart, of late so drear,
  Then seem'd a faery land,
Where nymphs and rosy loves appear
On margin green of fountain clear,
  And frolick hand in hand.

But who shall paint her crimson blush,
  Nor think his hand of stone,
As now the secret with a flush
Did o'er her aching senses rush--
  Her heart was not her own!

The happy Lindor, with a look
  That every hope confessed,
Her glowing hand exulting took,
And press'd it, as she fearful shook,
  In silence to his breast.

Myrtilla felt the spreading flame,
  Yet knew not how to chide;
So sweet it mantled o'er her frame,
That, with a smile of pride and shame,
  She own'd herself his bride.

No longer then, ye fair, complain,
  And call the fates unkind;
The high, the low, the meek, the vain,
Shall each a sympathetick swain,
Another self shall find.

Washington Allston's other poems:
  1. The Paint-Kings
  2. To a Lady Who Spoke Slightingly of Poets
  3. Sonnet (Oh, now I feel as though another sense)
  4. Sonnet (How vast, how dread, overwhelming is the thought)
  5. The Two Painters

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