They try to persuade me, my dear little sprite,
That you're not a true daughter of ether and light,
Nor have any concern with those fanciful forms
That dance upon rainbows and ride upon storms;
That, in short, you're a woman; your lip and your eye
As mortal as ever drew gods from the sky.
But I will not believe them--no, Science, to you
I have long bid a last and a careless adieu:
Still flying from Nature to study her laws,
And dulling delight by exploring its cause,
You forget how superior, for mortals below,
Is the fiction they dream to the truth that they know.
Oh! who, that has e'er enjoyed rapture complete,
Would ask how we feel it, or why it is sweet;
How rays are confused, or how particles fly
Through the medium refined of a glance or a sigh;
Is there one, who but once would not rather have known it,
Than written, with Harvey, whole volumes upon it?
As for you, my sweet-voiced and invisible love,
You must surely be one of those spirits, that rove
By the bank where, at twilight, the poet reclines,
When the star of the west on his solitude shines,
And the magical fingers of fancy have hung
Every breeze with a sigh, every leaf with a tongue.
Oh! hint to him then, 'tis retirement alone
Can hallow his harp or ennoble its tone;
Like you, with a veil of seclusion between,
His song to the world let him utter unseen,
And like you, a legitimate child of the spheres,
Escape from the eye to enrapture the ears.
Sweet spirit of mystery! how I should love,
In the wearisome ways I am fated to rove,
To have you thus ever invisibly nigh,
Inhaling for ever your song and your sigh!
Mid the crowds of the world and the murmurs of care,
I might sometimes converse with my nymph of the air,
And turn with distaste from the clamorous crew,
To steal in the pauses one whisper from you.
Then, come and be near me, for ever be mine,
We shall hold in the air a communion divine,
As sweet as, of old, was imagined to dwell
In the grotto of Numa, or Socrates' cell.
And oft, at those lingering moments of night,
When the heart's busy thoughts have put slumber to flight,
You shall come to my pillow and tell me of love,
Such as angel to angel might whisper above.
Sweet spirit!--and then, could you borrow the tone
Of that voice, to my ear like some fairy-song known,
The voice of the one upon earth, who has twined
With her being for ever my heart and my mind,
Though lonely and far from the light of her smile,
An exile, and weary and hopeless the while,
Could you shed for a moment her voice on my ear.
I will think, for that moment, that Cara is near;
That she comes with consoling enchantment to speak,
And kisses my eyelid and breathes on my cheek,
And tells me the night shall go rapidly by,
For the dawn of our hope, of our heaven is nigh.
Fair spirit! if such be your magical power,
It will lighten the lapse of full many an hour;
And, let fortune's realities frown as they will,
Hope, fancy, and Cara may smile for me still.