Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE IMAGE IN LAVA, by FELICIA DOROTHEA HEMANS

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THE IMAGE IN LAVA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Thou thing of years departed!
Last Line: It must, it must be so!
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, Felicia Dorothea
Subject(s): Archeology; Bodies; Women

THOU thing of years departed!
What ages have gone by
Since here the mournful seal was set
By love and agony.

Temple and tower have mouldered,
Empires from earth have passed,
And woman's heart hath left a trace
Those glories to outlast!

And childhood's fragile image,
Thus fearfully enshrined,
Survives the proud memorials reared
By conquerors of mankind.

Babe! wert thou brightly slumbering
Upon thy mother's breast
When suddenly the fiery tomb
Shut round each gentle guest?

A strange, dark fate o'ertook you,
Fair babe and loving heart!
One moment of a thousand pangs --
Yet better than to part!

Haply of that fond bosom
On ashes here impressed,
Thou wert the only treasure, child!
Whereon a hope might rest.

Perchance all vainly lavished
Its other love had been,
And where it trusted, naught remained
But thorns on which to lean.

Far better, then, to perish,
Thy form within its clasp,
Than live and lose thee, precious one
From that impassioned grasp.

Oh! I could pass all relics
Left by the pomps of old,
To gaze on this rude monument
Cast in affection's mould.

Love! human love! what art thou?
Thy print upon the dust
Outlives the cities of renown
Wherein the mighty trust!

Immortal, oh! immortal
Thou art, whose earthly glow
Hath given these ashes holiness --
It must, it must be so!

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