Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, POLITICAL PORTRAITS: 6, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON

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POLITICAL PORTRAITS: 6, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The light is kindling in his eye
Last Line: The vanity of fame!
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia

THE light is kindling in his eye,
The colour on his cheek;
And thoughts, the passionate, the deep,
Their charmed silence break;

Yet not to pour themselves in song,
But in those burning words
That come when some chance touch has waked
The spirit's secret chords.

How eloquent, how beautiful,
Like morning in the north
Melting away the dreary ice,
His noble mind came forth!

He stood the centre of the ring,
Awakening in each breast
Feelings and thoughts, forgotten, though
Their noblest and their best.

'Twas but a moment while they own'd
The youthful poet's sway;
A beacon light upon the hill,
To warn and die away.

Again his downcast eye was dim,
Again his cheek was pale;
Again around his beating heart
Closed its accustom'd veil.

A moment's pause, a moment's praise,
Sufficed to change the scene;
And careless word and careless laugh
Arose where mind had been.

So flings the lamp upon the wind
Its bright and dying flame: --
I thought, alas, the waste of life,
The vanity of fame!

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