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



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THE SECOND DAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Sweet spirit of delicious song
Last Line: As he told his tale of high emprize.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia


SWEET Spirit of delicious Song,
To whom, as of true right, belong
The myriad music notes that swell
From the poet's breathing shell;
We name thy name, and the heart springs
Up to the lip, as if with wings,
As if thy very mention brought
Snatches of inspired thought.

Is it war? At once are borne
Words like notes of martial horn.
Is it love? Comes some sweet tale
Like that of the nightingale.
Is it Nature's lovely face?
Rise lines touch'd with her own grace.
Is it some bright garden scene?
There, too, hath the minstrel been,
Linking words of charmed power
With the green leaf and the flower.
Is it woman's loveliness?
He hath revell'd to excess,
Caught all spells that can beguile
In dark eye or rosy smile.
Is it deed that hath its claim
Upon earth's most holy fame,
Or those kindly feelings sent
But for hearth and home content?
Lofty thought, or counsel sage,
Seek them in the poet's page;
Laurel, laud, and love belong
To thee, thou Spirit sweet of Song.

Not in courtly hall to-day
Meets the lady's congress gay.
'Tis a bright and summer sky, --
They will bear it company;
Odours float upon the gale,
Comrades suiting minstrel tale;
Flowers are spreading, -- carpet meet
For the beauty's fairy feet.
Shame to stay in marble hall
Thus from Nature's festival.

The garden had one fair resort,
As if devised for minstrel court:
An amphitheatre of trees
Shut from soft cheeks the ruder breeze;
While all around the chestnuts made,
With closing boughs, a pleasant shade,
Where, if a sunbeam wander'd through,
'Twas like the silver fall of dew;
The middle was an open space
Of softest grass, and those small flowers.
Daisies, whose rose-touch'd leaves retrace
The gold and blush of morning's hours.

To-day the Countess had for throne
An ancient trunk with moss o'ergrown;
And at her feet, as if from air
A purple cloud had fallen there,
Grew thousand violets, whose sighs
Breathed forth an Eastern sacrifice;
And, like a canopy, o'er head
A Provence rose luxuriant spread,
And its white flowers, pale and meek,
Seem'd sisters to the lady's cheek.

And ranged in a graceful order round,
A fairy court upon fairy ground,
Group'd the bright band; and like a tent,
Leaves and bloom over all were blent,
Flinging bright colours, but changing fast,
As ever the varying sunbeams pass'd;
And in the midst grew a myrtle tree,
There was the minstrel's place to be,
And its buds were delicate, frail, and fair,
As the hopes and joys of his own heart are.

Dark was the brow, and the bearing proud,
Of the bard who first stept forth from the crowd;
A small cloak down from his shoulder hung,
And a light guitar o'er his arm was slung,
Many a lady's casement had known
The moonlight spell of its magic tone:
But the fire of youth from his cheek had pass'd,
And its hopes and its dreams had faded as fast;
The romance of his earlier time was over,
The warrior had half forgotten the lover;
And the light grew dark in his radiant eyes,
As he told his tale of high emprize.





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