Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE PORTRAIT OF ROBERT PEEL, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON

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ON THE PORTRAIT OF ROBERT PEEL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Dim through the curtains came the purple twilight slowly
Last Line: The power to scatter benefits and blessings round its sway.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia
Subject(s): Peel, Sir Robert (1788-1850)

DIM through the curtains came the purple twilight slowly,
Deepening like death's shadow around that silent room;
There lay a head, a radiant head, but lowly,
And the pale face like a statue shone out amid the gloom.
Never again will those white and wasted fingers
Waken the music they were wont to wake of yore,
A music that in many a beating heart yet lingers,
The sweeter and the sadder that she will breathe no more.
It is a lovely world that the minstrel leaves behind him,
It is a lovely world in which the minstrel lives,
Deep in its inmost life hath the soul of love inshrined him,
And passionate and general the pleasure which he gives.
But dear-bought is the triumph, what dark fates are recorded
Of those who held sweet mastery o'er the pulses of the lute,
Mournfully and bitterly their toil has been rewarded,
For them the tree of knowledge puts forth its harshest fruit.
Glorious and stately the ever-growing laurel,
Flinging back the summer sunshine, defying winter's snow,
Yet its bright history has the darkly-pointed moral,
Deadly are the poisons that through its green leaves flow.
And she, around whose couch the gentle daylight dying,
Seems like all nature's loving, last farewell;
She with the world's heart to her own soft one replying,
How much of song's fever and sorrow could she tell.
Yet upon her lip a languid smile is shining,
Tokens of far-off sympathy have soothed that hour of pain;
Its sympathy has warmed the pallid cheek reclining
On the weary pillow whence it will not rise again.
It is the far-off friend, the unknown she is blessing,
The statesman who has paused upon toil's hurried way,
To learn the deepest charm that power has in possessing,
The power to scatter benefits and blessings round its sway.

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