Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A POET'S DAUGHTER, by FITZ-GREENE HALLECK

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A POET'S DAUGHTER, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: A lady asks the minstrel's rhyme.' a lady asks? There was a time
Last Line: All bard can give.
Alternate Author Name(s): Croaker
Subject(s): Fathers & Daughters; Poetry & Poets

"A LADY asks the Minstrel's rhyme." A lady asks? There was a time
When, musical as play-bell's chime
To wearied boy,
That sound would summon dreams sublime
Of pride and joy.
But now the spell hath lost its sway,
Life's first-born fancies first decay,
Gone are the plumes and pennon's gay
Of young Romance;
There linger but her ruins gray,
And broken lance.
'Tis a new world -- no more to maid,
Warrior or bard, is homage paid;
The bay-tree's, laurel's, myrtle's shade,
Men's thoughts resign; --
Heaven placed us here to vote and trade,
Twin tasks divine!
"Tis youth, 'tis beauty asks, -- the green
"And growing leaves of seventeen
"Are round her; and, half hid, half seen,
"A violet flower,
"Nursed by the virtues she hath been
"From childhood's hour."
Blind passion's Picture, -- yet for this
We woo the life-long bridal kiss,
And blend our every hope of bliss
With her's we love;
Unmindful of the serpent's hiss
In Eden's grove.
Beauty -- the fading rainbow's pride,
Youth -- 'twas the charm of her who died
At dawn, and by her coffin's side
A grandsire stands,
Age-strengthened, like the oak storm-tried
Of mountain lands.
Youth's coffin -- hush the tale it tells,
Be silent, memory's funeral bells!
Lone in one heart, her home, it dwells
Untold till death,
And where the grave-mound greenly swells
O'er buried faith.
"But what if her's are rank and power,
"Armies her train, a throne her bower,
"A kingdom's gold her marriage dower,
"Broad seas and lands?
"What if from bannered hall and tower
"A queen commands?"
A queen? Earth's regal moons have set.
Where perished Marie Antoinette?
Where's Bordeaux's mother? Where the jet-
Black Haytian dame?
And Lusitania's coronet?
And Angouleme?
Empires to-day are upside down,
The castle kneels before the town,
The monarch fears a printer's frown,
A brickbat's range;
Give me, in preference to a crown,
Five shillings change.
"But her who asks, though first among
"The good, the beautiful, the young,
"the birthright of a spell more strong
"Than these have brought her;
"She is your kinswoman in song,
"A Poet's daughter."
A Poet's daughter? Could I claim
The consanguinity of fame,
Veins of my intellectual frame!
Your blood would glow
Proudly to sing that gentlest name
Of aught below.
A Poet's daughter -- dearer word
Lip hath not spoke nor listener heard,
Fit theme for song of bee and bird
From morn till even,
And wind-harp by the breathing stirred
Of star-lit heaven.
My spirit's wings are weak, the fire
Poetic comes but to expire,
Her name needs not my humble lyre
To bid it live;
She hath already from her sire
All bard can give.

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