Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, POLITICAL PORTRAITS: 4, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON



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POLITICAL PORTRAITS: 4, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: His brow is pale with high and passionate thoughts
Last Line: For the green memory of an early grave.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia


HIS brow is pale with high and passionate thoughts
That came from heaven like lightning, and consume,
E'en while they brighten; youth has lost its hopes:
Those sweet and wandering birds, that make its spring
So happy with their music, -- these are gone:
All scared by one, a vulture, that doth feed
Upon the life-blood of the throbbing heart --
The hope of immortality! -- that hope,
Whose altar is the grave, whose sacrifice
Is life -- bright, beautiful, and breathing life.
He stands amid the revellers with a joy,
A scarcely conscious joy, in their delight;
In it he has no part, -- he stands alone;
But the deep music haunts his dreaming ear, --
But the fair forms flit o'er his dreaming eye, --
And exquisite illusions fill his soul
With loveliness to pour in future song.
He leant beside a casement, and the moon
Shed her own stillness o'er the hectic cheek
Whereon the fever of the mind had fed;
His eyes have turn'd towards th' eternal stars,
Drinking the light into their shadowy depths,
Almost as glorious and as spiritual.
The night-wind touch'd his forehead, with it ran
A faint slight shudder through his wasted frame, --
Alas! how little can bring down our thoughts
From their most lofty communings with heaven,
To poor mortality! -- that passing chill
Recall'd those bitter feelings that attend
Career half follow'd, and the goal unwon:
He thought upon his few and unknown years,
How much his power, how little it had done;
And then again the pale lip was compress'd
With high resolve, the dark eye flash'd with hope
To snatch a laurel from the grasp of death,
For the green memory of an early grave.





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