Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PALM TREE, by FELICIA DOROTHEA HEMANS



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THE PALM TREE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: It waved not through an eastern sky
Last Line: The same whence gushed that child-like tear!
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, Felicia Dorothea
Subject(s): Palm Trees; Women


IT waved not through an eastern sky
Beside a fount of Araby;
It was not fanned by southern breeze
In some green Isle of Indian seas;
Nor did its graceful shadow sleep
O'er stream of Afric, lone and deep.

But fair the exiled palm-tree grew
'Midst foliage of no kindred hue;
Through the laburnum's drooping gold
Rose the light shaft of orient mould,
And Europe's violets, faintly sweet,
Purpled the moss-beds at its feet.

Strange looked it there! The willow streamed
Where silvery waters near it gleamed;
The lime-bough lured the honey-bee
To murmur by the desert's tree,
And showers of snowy roses made
A lustre in its fan-like shade.

There came an eve of festal hours --
Rich music filled that garden's bowers;
Lamps, that from flowering branches hung,
On sparks of dew soft color flung;
And bright forms glanced -- a fairy show --
Under the blossoms to and fro.

But one, a lone one, 'midst the throng,
Seemed reckless all of dance or song:
He was a youth of dusky mien,
Whereon the Indian sun had been,
Of crested brow and long black hair --
A stranger, like the palm-tree there.

And slowly, sadly, moved his plumes,
Glittering athwart the leafy glooms.
He passed the pale-green olives by,
Nor won the chestnut flowers his eye;
But when to that sole palm he came,
Then shot a rapture through his frame!

To him, to him its rustling spoke --
The silence of his soul it broke!
It whispered of his own bright isle,
That lit the ocean with a smile;
Ay to his ear that native tone
Had something of the sea-wave's moan!

His mother's cabin-home, that lay
Where feathery cocoas fringed the bay;
The dashing of his brethren's oar --
The conch-note heard along the shore;
All through his wakening bosom swept --
He clasped his country's tree, and wept!

Oh! scorn him not! The strength whereby
The patriot girds himself to die,
The unconquerable power which fills
The freeman battling on his hills,
These have one fountain deep and clear --
The same whence gushed that child-like tear!





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