To George Morgan, Esq. Of Norfolk, Virginia.

A poem by Thomas Moore

FROM BERMUDA, JANUARY, 1804.


Oh, what a sea of storm we've past!--
High mountain waves and foamy showers,
And battling winds whose savage blast
But ill agrees with one whose hours
Have past in old Anacreon's bowers,
Yet think not poesy's bright charm
Forsook me in this rude alarm;[1]--
When close they reefed the timid sail,
When, every plank complaining loud,
We labored in the midnight gale;
And even our haughty mainmast bowed,
Even then, in that unlovely hour,
The Muse still brought her soothing power,
And, midst the war of waves and wind,
In song's Elysium lapt my mind.
Nay, when no numbers of my own
Responded to her wakening tone,
She opened, with her golden key,
The casket where my memory lays
Those gems of classic poesy,
Which time has saved from ancient days.
Take one of these, to Lais sung,--
I wrote it while my hammock swung,
As one might write a dissertation
Upon "Suspended Animation!"

Sweet is your kiss, my Lais dear,
But, with that kiss I feel a tear
Gush from your eyelids, such as start
When those who've dearly loved must part.
Sadly you lean your head to mine,
And mute those arms around me twine,
Your hair adown my bosom spread,
All glittering with the tears you shed.
In vain I've kist those lids of snow,
For still, like ceaseless founts they flow,
Bathing our cheeks, whene'er they meet.
Why is it thus? Do, tell me, sweet!
Ah, Lais! are my bodings right?
Am I to lose you? Is to-night
Our last--go, false to heaven and me!
Your very tears are treachery.

Such, while in air I floating hung,
Such was the strain, Morgante mio!
The muse and I together sung,
With Boreas to make out the trio.
But, bless the little fairy isle!
How sweetly after all our ills.
We saw the sunny morning smile
Serenely o'er its fragrant hills;
And felt the pure, delicious flow
Of airs that round this Eden blow
Freshly as even the gales that come
O'er our own healthy hills at home.

Could you but view the scenery fair,
That now beneath my window lies,
You'd think, that nature lavished there
Her purest wave, her softest skies,
To make a heaven for love to sigh in,
For bards to live and saints to die in.
Close to my wooded bank below,
In grassy calm the waters sleep,
And to the sunbeam proudly show
The coral rocks they love to steep.[2]
The fainting breeze of morning fails;
The drowsy boat moves slowly past,
And I can almost touch its sails
As loose they flap around the mast.
The noontide sun a splendor pours
That lights up all these leafy shores;
While his own heaven, its clouds
and beams,
So pictured in the waters lie,
That each small bark, in passing, seems
To float along a burning sky.

Oh for the pinnace lent to thee,[3]
Blest dreamer, who in vision bright,
Didst sail o'er heaven's solar sea
And touch at all its isles of light.
Sweet Venus, what a clime he found
Within thy orb's ambrosial round--
There spring the breezes, rich and warm,
That sigh around thy vesper car;
And angels dwell, so pure of form
That each appears a living star.
These are the sprites, celestial queen!
Thou sendest nightly to the bed
Of her I love, with touch unseen
Thy planet's brightening tints to shed;
To lend that eye a light still clearer,
To give that cheek one rose-blush more.
And bid that blushing lip be dearer,
Which had been all too dear before.

But, whither means the muse to roam?
'Tis time to call the wanderer home.
Who could have thought the nymph would perch her
Up in the clouds with Father Kircher?
So, health and love to all your mansion!
Long may the bowl that pleasures bloom in,
The flow of heart, the soul's expansion,
Mirth and song, your board illumine.
At all your feasts, remember too,
When cups are sparkling to the brim,
That here is one who drinks to you,
And, oh! as warmly drink to him.

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