The Deserted.

A poem by George W. Sands

"Come, sit thee by my side once more,
'Tis long since thus we' met;
And though our dream of love is o'er,
Its sweetness lingers yet.
Its transient day has long been past,
Its flame has ceased to burn, -
But Memory holds its spirit fast,
Safe in her sacred urn.

"I will not chide thy wanderings,
Nor ask why thou couldst flee
A heart whose deep affection's springs
Poured forth such love for thee!
We may not curb the restless mind,
Nor teach the wayward heart
To love against its will, nor bind
It with the chains of art.

"I would but tell thee how, in tears
And bitterness, my soul
Has yearned with dreams, through long, long, years,
Which it could not control.
And how the thought that clingeth to,
And twineth round the past,
For ever in my heart shall glow,
And be save one my last.

"They say thou hast another's love, -
Well, cherish it, but thou
Its lack of strength and depth wilt prove,
Should sorrow cloud thy brow.
Though she may own a statelier form,
A fairer cheek than mine,
Her heart cannot so well and warm,
Respond each throb of thine."

Her words were gentle, but their tone
Was sad as sorrow's sigh, -
A tear-drop trembled in his own
As he sought her downcast eye.
A chord was struck within his breast
That long untouched had lain,
Old memories started from their rest, -
The maid was loved again.


On! there are hours of sadness, when the soul,
Torn from its every stay, and crushed beneath
Its many griefs, and spurning faith's control,
Pants with an earnest longing for the death
Which would for ever close its dark career,
With the pale shroud and the remorseless bier;
When the harsh, sterile nothingness of life,
First breaks upon the hope-deluded breast,
And the heart sickens with the bootless strife
That wrings its chords, and longs to be at rest;
Ev'n if the blow that frees it from distress,
Should strike it into utter nothingness.

Ah, nothingness! The thought at times will come,
The mind will wrestle with the mystery
That clouds its being! from its clay-made home,
Its dwelling of a moment, it will flee
Into the far depths of the vast UNKNOWN,
In its vain searchings for th' eternal throne
Of that Omnipotence which gave it birth,
And, giving it a nature which might suit
A seraph, bound its destiny to earth!
And a few years, in which to eat the fruit
Of life's strange tree, so bitter at its core,
Then death, the quiet grave, sleep, and - what more?

Whence came we? whither go we? All is still
And voiceless in the past! A veil is drawn
Across the future! by life's mystic rill
We sit and ponder, watching for the dawn
Of some yet unconceived, far-reaching thought,
By which our nature's secret shall be taught!
Why sorrow is our element - why sin
Is native in us - by what curse we bear
An ever aching, crushing void within
Our secret souls! and why the little share
Of happiness that mingles with our fate,
Is of such fleeting, transitory date 1

Our loves! our hopes! what are they? fruits which turn
To ashes on our lips! illusive lights
That cast a moment's brightness while they burn,
Then die, and leave a darkness which affrights
Our spirits with its thrice redoubled gloom,
Making the sky a pall - the earth a tomb!
And yet these are the all of life for which
'Tis worth the wearing of its chain to know,
Wealth, fame, and power are but toys! the rich,
The high and mighty, with the base and low,
Alike before the reaper Death must fall, -
So be it! in the grave is rest for all.


When the leaf is on the tree,
And the bird is in the bower,
And the butterfly and bee,
Bear its treasures from the flower;
When the fields put on the sheen,
That to young-eyed Spring belongs;
When the groves and forests green,
Echo with a thousand songs;

When wild Beauty wanders forth,
Giving, with no stinted care,
All her loveliness to earth,
All her sweetness to the air:
Then the heart, with gladness stirred,
Mindful of its griefs no more,
Mounts and carols, like a bird
When the pearly shower is o'er!

But the summer's sunny hours,
As we count them, pass away;
And its fairest fruits and flowers,
Are but food for stern decay.
Then with wailings, deep and loud,
Like the sea's in its unrest,
Winter spreads his icy shroud,
O'er the bare earth's frozen breast.

Thus the spirit's early gladness,
Sorrow chills or time removes;
And the soul, in tears and sadness,
Mourns its perished joys and loves.
Hope will lose its trusting boldness,
One by one its beams depart,
And Despair, with icy, coldness,
Winds its mantle round the heart.

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