Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FIRST DAY, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON



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THE FIRST DAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Tis may again, another may
Last Line: Bade his soft notes arise the while.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia


'TIS May again, another May,
Looking as if it meant to stay;
So many are its thousand flowers,
So glorious are its sunny hours,
So green its earth, so blue its sky,
As made for Hope's eternity.

By night with starlike tapers gleaming,
And music like an odour streaming;
By day with portals open flung,
While bugle note and trumpet rung;
Rose Isaure's towers: and gathered there,
Again, the gifted, young and fair,
Have at CLEMENZA'S summons met,
In contest for the Violet.

Her heralds had been to distant lands
To call together the joyeuse bands,
And they had hasten'd. England had sent
Her harp across the blue element;
The Spaniard had come from the land of romance;
And the flower of her minstrels had gather'd in France,
From far and from near; it was strange to see
The bards of Erin and Italy
Mingle together with those that came
From the highland home they so loved to name.

Hark to the sound of yon silver horn,
And the sweep of the harp to the distance borne;
'Tis the hour of meeting, and welcome now
To the gifted hand and the laurel'd brow.
Young knight, think not of hawk or hound;
Fair maiden, fling not thy smiles around;
Warrior, regard not the sword at thy side;
Baron, relax thou thy brow of pride;
Let worldly coldness and care depart,
And yield to the spell of the minstrel's art.

'Twas a spacious hall, and around it rose
Carved pillars as white as the snows;
Between, the purple tapestry swept,
Where work'd in myriad shades were kept
Memories of many an ancient tale,
And of many a blooming cheek now pale.
The dome above like a glory shone,
Or a cloud which the sunset lingers upon,
While the tinted pane seem'd the bright resort,
Where Iris' self held her minstrel court;
And beautiful was the coloured fall
Of the floating hues round the stately hall.

In groups around mix'd the gay throng,
Knight, noble, lady, child of song.
At one end was upraised a throne,
On which the Countess sat alone;
Not with droop'd eye and bow'd-down head,
And simple white veil round her spread,
As lean'd she o'er the lonely wave,
Dreaming of the minstrel's grave;
But purple robe and golden band
Bespoke the ladye of the land;
Rich gems upon her arm were placed,
And lit the zone around her waist;
But none were in her braided hair,
One only Violet was there,
The golden flower, which won all cyes,
Destined to be the minstrel prize.

They pass'd around the silver urn
Whose lot must fix the poet's turn;
To a young Provence bard it came, --
He drew, and drew CLEMENZA'S name.
And forth at once young VIDAL sprung,
His light lute o'er his shoulder flung,
Then paused, -- for over cheek and brow,
Like lightning, rush'd the crimson glow;
A low sound trembled from that lute,
His lip turn'd pale, his voice was mute;
He sent a hurried glance around
As if in search; at last he found
The eyes without whose light to him
The very heaven above was dim:
At once his hand awoke the chords,
At once his lip pour'd tuneful words,
And, gazing on his lady's smile,
Bade his soft notes arise the while.





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