Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SONG (6), by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON



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SONG (6), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Where, oh! Where's the chain to fling
Last Line: The magic of so dear a tone.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia


WHERE, oh! where's the chain to fling,
One that will bind CUPID'S wing, --
One that will have longer power
Than the April sun or shower?
Form it not of Eastern gold,
All too weighty it to hold;
Form it neither all of bloom, --
Never does Love find a tomb
Sudden, soon, as when he meets
Death amid unchanging sweets:
But if you would fling a chain,
And not fling it all in vain,
Like a fairy form a spell
Of all that is changeable,
Take the purple tints that deck,
Meteor-like, the peacock's neck;
Take the many hues that play
On the rainbow's colour'd way;
Never let a hope appear
Without its companion fear;
Only smile to sigh, and then
Change into a smile again;
Be to-day as sad, as pale,
As minstrel with his lovelorn tale:
But to-morrow gay as all
Life had been one festival.
If a woman would secure
All that makes her reign endure,
And, alas! her reign must be
Ever most in phantasy,
Never let an envious eye
Gaze upon the heart too nigh;
Never let the veil be thrown
Quite aside, as all were known
Of delight and tenderness,
In the spirit's last recess;
And, one spell all spells above,
Never let her own her love.

BUT from the harp a darker song
Is sweeping like the winds along
The night gale, at that dreamy hour
When spirit and when storm have power;
Yet sadly sweet: and can this be,
AMENAIDE, the wreck of thee?
Mind, dangerous and glorious gift,
Too much thy native heaven has left
Its nature in thee, for thy light
To be content with earthly home:
It hath another, and its sight
Will too much to that other roam, --
And heavenly light and earthly clay
But ill bear with alternate sway; --
Till jarring elements create
The evil which they sought to shun,
And deeper feel their mortal state,
In struggling for a higher one.
There is no rest for the proud mind;
Conscious of its high powers confined,
Vain dreams 'mid its best hopes arise;
It is itself its sacrifice.
Ah! sad it is, to see the deck
Dismasted, of some noble wreck;
And sad to see the marble stone
Defaced, and with grey moss o'ergrown;
And sad to see the broken lute
For ever to its music mute!
But what is lute, or fallen tower,
Or ship sunk in its proudest hour,
To awe and mystery combined
In their worst shape -- the ruin'd mind?
To her was trusted that fine power
Which rules the bards enthusiast hour;
The human heart gave up its keys
To her, who ruled its sympathies
In song, whose influence was brought
From what first in herself had wrought
Too passionate; her least emotion
Swept like the whirlwind o'er the ocean.
Kind, tender, but too sensitive,
None seem'd her equal love to bear;
Affection's ties small joys could give,
Tried but by what she hoped they were.
Too much on all her feelings threw
The colouring of their own hue;
Too much her ardent spirit dream'd
Things would be such as she had deem'd.
She trusted love, albeit her heart
Was ill made for love's happiness,
She ask'd too much, another's part
Was cold beside her own excess.
She sought for praise; her share of fame,
It went beyond her wildest claim:
But ill could her proud spirit bear
All that befals the laurel's share; --
Oh, well they gave the laurel tree
A minstrel's coronal to be!
Immortal as its changeless hue,
The deadly poison circles through,
Its venom makes its life; ah! still
Earth's lasting growth are those of ill; --
And mined was the foundation-stone
The spirit's regal shrine o'erthrown.
Aimless and dark, the wandering mind
Yet had a beauty left behind;
A touch, a tone, a shade, the more
To tell of what had pass'd before.
She woke the harp, and backward flung
The cloud of hair, that pall-like hung
O'er her pale brow and radiant eyes,
Wild as the light of midnight skies,
When the red meteor rides the cloud,
Telling the storm has burst its shroud:
A passionate hue was on her cheek;
Untranquil colours such as break
With crimson light the northern sky;
Yet on her wan lip seem'd to lie
A faint sweet smile, as if not yet
It could its early charm forget.
She sang, oh! well the heart might own
The magic of so dear a tone.





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