Sweet Memory! thou faculty divine--
Triumphant o'er the cruel hand of Time!
On thy tablets we may trace
The lines his fingers ne'er efface,
And take with us till latest day
The images that light our way,
And picture thus in a shadowy form
The loved and lost he's from us torn--
Their lids by Death so early sealed--
Life's crimson tide by him congealed--
The tyrant has not all concealed--
They in thy mirror still revealed!
Before the morning sunbeams kissed
The face of Nature--veiled in mist--
And heralded with golden ray
The opening of the perfect day--
Ere yet the sable shades of night
At dawn's approach had winged their flight--
We've listed to the whispering breeze
That's wafted o'er the trembling trees,
And seemed to hear the voices sweet
Of loved ones now we ne'er can meet
Till earthly night shall pass away--
Supplanted by immortal day!
And thus in retrospective mood,
Alone with Nature's solitude
In some secluded sylvan dell,
Her myriad voices float and swell
And flitting shadows softly tell
Of dear ones lost--yet loved so well!
Then to the sunny home where dwelt--
(Ere yet the envious tyrant dealt
The blow that blighted hopes have felt)--
Fond fancy wanders, and can see
Once happy scenes that ne'er can be
Lost in thy shades, O Memory!
But those to us so cruelly denied
Are drifting now upon some fairer tide--
Their scattered ashes on Hope's pinions rise
And people realms beyond the azure skies!
Then may our faltering footsteps lead
To where fond hearts may never bleed--
Where vanished faces, cherished forms,
Are anchored safe from life's rude storms;
Where strains seraphic, soft and low,
The rapt ear greet, and we shall know
The loved and lost we only see
In visions of sweet Memory!