Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, STANZAS TO HELEN M-- M--, by BERNARD BARTON

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STANZAS TO HELEN M-- M--, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Believe not that absence can banish
Last Line: And tenderly whisper of thee.
Alternate Author Name(s): Quaker Poet
Subject(s): Absence; Separation; Isolation

BELIEVE not that absence can banish
The memory of moments gone by;
Could I deem they so slightly would vanish,
I should think on the past with a sigh.
But thy image was never intended
The source of one sorrow to be;
For pleasure and hope are both blended
In each thought which arises of thee.

'Tis not love, as that passion is painted,
Its revival I never shall prove:
For, long ere we two were acquainted,
I had ceas'd e'en to think about love.
The attachment I feel is another,
'Tis passion from penitence free;
And had I to choose as a brother,
I would look for a sister in thee.

Thou need'st not, dear Helen, to doubt me,
When I fondly and frankly confess,
That thought in this bosom about thee
Is busier than words can express.
And when such ideas are springing,
They touch such a tone and a key;
If my hand on my harp I am flinging,
Its strings must be vocal to thee.

When the sun, in his rising from ocean,
Foretels a bright day by his dawn;
With eager and joyful emotion
We exult in the beauties of morn.
Such thine: be thy noontide the same too,
And may age, from infirmity free,
Calm, peaceful, as earth can lay claim to,
In life's close, be still lovely in thee.

O grant that the picture thus painted,
The world may not wantonly mar!
Keep thy soul in its whiteness untainted,
And may its innocence still be its star.
Then, whatever the station assign'd thee,
Though distant that station may be,
The remembrance of friends left behind thee
Shall dwell with delight upon thee.

For affection bids distance defiance,
Its ardour no absence can change;
And the links of its holy alliance
Can reach through creation's vast range.
Those links have so lovingly bound us,
That, when thou art far over sea,
Thy image shall hover around us,
And tenderly whisper of thee.

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