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MAGDALEN, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: A sword, whose blade has ne'er been wet
Last Line: The loved, the lovely magdalen.
Alternate Author Name(s): Croaker
Subject(s): Greece; Love - Complaints; Soldiers; Greeks

A SWORD, whose blade has ne'er been wet
With blood, except of freedom's foes;
That hope which, though its sun be set,
Still with a starlight beauty glows;
A heart that worshipped in Romance
The Spirit of the buried Time,
And dreams of knight, and steed, and lance,
And ladye-love, and minstrel-rhyme;
These had been, and I deemed would be
My joy, whate'er my destiny.

Born in a camp, its watch-fires bright
Alone illumed my cradle-bed;
And I had borne with wild delight
My banner where Bolivar led,
Ere manhood's hue was on my cheek,
Or manhood's pride was on my brow.
Its folds are furled -- the war-bird's beak
Is thirsty on the Andes now;
I longed, like her, for other skies
Clouded by Glory's sacrifice.

In Greece, the brave heart's Holy Land,
Its soldier-song the bugle sings;
And I had buckled on my brand,
And waited but the sea wind's wings,
To bear me where, or lost or won
Her battle, in its frown or smile,
Men live with those of Marathon,
Or die with those of Scio's isle;
And find in Valour's tent or tomb,
In life or death, a glorious home.

I could have left but yesterday
The scene of my boy-years behind,
And floated on my careless way
Wherever willed the breathing wind.
I could have bade adieu to aught
I 've sought, or met, or welcomed here,
Without an hour of shaded thought,
A sigh, a murmur, or a tear.
Such was I yesterday, -- but then
I had not known thee, Magdalen.

To-day there is a change within me,
There is a weight upon my brow,
And Fame, whose whispers once could win me
From all I loved, is powerless now.
There ever is a form, a face
Of maiden beauty in my dreams,
Speeding before me, like the race
To ocean of the mountain streams --
With dancing hair, and laughing eyes,
That seem to mock me as it flies.

My sword-it slumbers in its sheath;
My hopes-their starry light is gone;
My heart-the fabled clock of death
Beats with the same low, lingering tone:
And this, the land of Magdalen,
Seems now the only spot on earth
Where skies are blue and flowers are green;
And here I 'd build my household hearth,
And breathe my song of joy, and twine
A lovely being's name with mine.

In vain! in vain! the sail is spread;
To sea! to sea! my task is there;
But when among the unmourn'd dead
They lay me, and the ocean air
Brings tidings of my day of doom,
May'st thou be then, as now thou art,
The load-star of a happy home;
In smile and voice, in eye and heart
The same as thou hast ever been,
The loved, the lovely Magdalen.

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