Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PROPERZIA ROSSI, by FELICIA DOROTHEA HEMANS



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PROPERZIA ROSSI, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: One dream of passion and of beauty more!
Last Line: "say proudly yet -- ""'twas hers who loved me well!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, Felicia Dorothea
Subject(s): Love - Unrequited; Rossi, Properzia; Women


ONE dream of passion and of beauty more!
And in its bright fulfilment let me pour
My soul away! Let earth retain a trace
Of that which lit my being, though its race
Might have been loftier far. Yet one more dream!
From my deep spirit one victorious gleam
Ere I depart! For thee alone, for thee!
May this last work, this farewell triumph be --
Thou, loved so vainly! I would have enshrined
Something immortal of my heart and mind,
That yet may speak to thee when I am gone,
Shaking thine inmost bosom with a tone
Of lost affection, -- something that may prove
What she hath been, whose melancholy love
On thee was lavished; silent pang and tear,
And fervent song that gushed when none were near,
And dream by night, and weary thought by day,
Stealing the brightness from her life away --
While thou -- A wake! not yet within me die!
Under the burden and the agony
Of this vain tenderness -- my spirit, wake!
Even for thy sorrowful affection's sake,
Live! in thy work breathe out! -- that he may yet,
Feeling sad mastery there, perchance regret
Thine unrequited gift.

II.

It comes! the power
Within me born flows back -- my fruitless dower
That could not win me love. Yet once again
I greet it proudly, with its rushing train
Of glorious images: they throng -- they press --
A sudden joy lights up my loneliness --
I shall not perish all!
The bright work grows
Beneath my hand, unfolded as a rose,
Leaf after leaf, to beauty; line by line,
I fixed my thought, heart, soul, to burn, to shine,
Through the pale marble's veins. It grows! -- and now
I give my own life's history to thy brow,
Forsaken Ariadne! -- thou shalt wear
My form, my lineaments; but oh! more fair,
Touched into lovelier being by the glow
Which in me dwells, as by the summer light
All things are glorified. From thee my woe
Shall yet look beautiful to meet his sight,
When I am passed away. Thou art the mould,
Wherein I pour the fervent thoughts, the untold,
The self-consuming! Speak to him of me,
Thou, the deserted by the lonely sea,
With the soft sadness of thine earnest eye --
Speak to him, lorn one! deeply, mournfully,
Of all my love and grief! Oh! could I throw
Into thy frame a voice -- a sweet, and low,
And thrilling voice of song! when he came nigh,
To send the passion of its melody
Through his pierced bosom -- on its tones to bear
My life's deep feeling as the southern air
Wafts the faint myrtle's breath -- to rise, to swell,
To sink away in accents of farewell,
Winning but one, one gush of tears, whose flow
Surely my parted spirit yet might know,
If love be strong as death!

III.

Now fair thou art,
Thou form, whose life is of my burning heart!
Yet all the vision that within me wrought,
I cannot make thee. Oh! I might have given
Birth to creations of far nobler thought;
I might have kindled, with the fire of heaven,
Things not of such as die! But I have been
Too much alone! A heart whereon to lean,
With all these deep affections that o'erflow
My aching soul, and find no shore below;
An eye to be my star; a voice to bring
Hope o'er my path like sounds that breathe of spring:
These are denied me -- dreamt of still in vain.
Therefore my brief aspirings from the chain
Are ever but as some wild fitful song,
Rising triumphantly, to die ere long
In dirge-like echoes.

IV.

Yet the world will see
Little of this, my parting work! in thee.
Thou shalt have fame! Oh, mockery! give the reed
From storms a shelter -- give the drooping vine
Something round which its tendrils may entwine --
Give the parched flower a raindrop, and the meed
Of love's kind words to woman! Worthless fame!
That in his bosom wins not for my name
The abiding place it asked! Yet how my heart,
In its own fairy world of song and art,
Once beat for praise! Are those high longings o'er?
That which I have been can I be no more?
Never! oh, never more! though still thy sky
Be blue as then, my glorious Italy!
And though the music, whose rich breathings fill
Thin air with soul, be wandering past me still;
And though the mantle of thy sunlight streams
Unchanged on forms, instinct with poet-dreams.
Never! oh, never more! Where'er I move,
The shadow of this broken-hearted love
Is on me and around! Too well they know
Whose life is all within, too soon and well,
When there the blight hath settled! But I go
Under the silent wings of peace to dwell;
From the slow wasting, from the lonely pain,
The inward burning of those words -- "in vain."
Seared on the heart -- I go. 'Twill soon be past!
Sunshine and song, and bright Italian heaven,
And thou, oh! thou, on whom my spirit cast
Unvalued wealth -- who knowest not what was given
In that devotedness -- the sad, and deep,
And unrepaid -- farewell! If I could weep
Once, only once, beloved one! on thy breast,
Pouring my heart forth ere I sink to rest!
But that were happiness! -- and unto me
Earth's gift is fame. Yet I was formed to be
So richly blessed! With thee to watch the sky,
Speaking not, feeling but that thou wert nigh;
With thee to listen, while the tones of song
Swept even as part of our sweet air along --
To listen silently; with thee to gaze
On forms, the deified of olden days --
This had been joy enough; and hour by hour,
From its glad well-springs drinking life and power,
How had my spirit soared, and made its fame
A glory for thy brow! Dreams, dreams! -- the fire
Burns faint within me. Yet I leave my name --
As a deep thrill may linger on the lyre
When its full chords are hushed -- awhile to live,
And one day haply in thy heart revive
Sad thoughts of me. I leave it, with a sound,
A spell o'er memory, mournfully profound;
I leave it on my country's air to dwell --
Say proudly yet -- "'Twas hers who loved me well!"





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