Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EXPERIENCE, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON



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EXPERIENCE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: My very heart is filled with tears! I seem
Last Line: Thy starry rest is in eternity!
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia


MY very heart is filled with tears! I seem
As I were struggling under some dark dream,
Which roughly bore me down life's troubled stream.

The past weighs heavily upon my soul,
A tyrant mastering me with stern control;
The present has no rest -- the future has no goal.

For what can be again but what has been?
Soon the young leaf forgets its early green,
And shadows with our sunshine intervene.

Quenched is the spirit's morning wing of fire;
We calculate where once we could aspire,
And the high hope sets in some low desire.

Experience has rude lessons, and we grow
Like what we have been taught too late to know,
And yet we hate ourselves for being so.

Our early friends, where are they? -- rather, where
The fond belief that actual friends there were, --
Not cold and false as all must find they are?

We love -- my have been loved -- but ah! how faint
The love that withers of its earthly taint,
To what our first sweet visions used to paint!

How have we been deceived, forgotten, flung
Back on our trusting selves -- the heart's core wrung
By some fond faith to which we weakly clung.

Alas! our kindest feelings are the root
Of all experience's most bitter fruit;
They waste the life whose charm they constitute.

At length they harden, and we feel no more
All that was felt so bitterly before,
But with the softness is the sweetness o'er.

Of things we once enjoyed how few remain!
Youth's flowers are flung behind us, and in vain
We would stoop down to gather them again.

Why do we think of this? -- bind the red wreath --
Float down time's water to the viol's breath,
Wot not what those cold billows hide beneath.

We cannot do this: -- from the sparkling brink
Drops the glad rose, and the bright waters shrink:
While in the midst of mirth we pause to think; --

And if we think -- we sadden: -- thought and grief
Are vowed companions; while we turn the leaf,
It darkens -- for the brilliant is the brief.

Ah! then, farewell ye lovely things that brought
Your own Elysium hither! -- overwrought
The spirit wearies with the weight of thought.

Our better nature pineth -- let it be!
Thou human soul -- earth is no home for thee;
Thy starry rest is in eternity!





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