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STANZAS TO THE AUTHOR OF MONT BLANC, ADA, ETC., by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Thy hands are fill'd with early flowers
Last Line: Not wither all that grows beneath!
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia

THY hands are fill'd with early flowers,
Thy step is on the wind;
The innocent and keen delight
Of youth is on thy mind; --
That glad fresh feeling that bestows
Itself the pleasure which it knows,
The pure, the undefined;
And thou art in that happy hour
Of feeling's uncurb'd, early power.

Yes, thou art very young, and youth,
Like light, should round thee fling
The sunshine thrown round morning's hour,
The gladness given to spring:
And yet upon thy brow is wrought
The darkness of that deeper thought,
Which future time should bring.
What can have traced that shadowy line
Upon a brow so young as thine?

'Tis written in thy large dark eyes,
Fill'd with unbidden tears;
The passionate paleness on thy cheek,
Belying thy few years,
A child, yet not the less thou art
One of the gifted hand and heart,
Whose deepest hopes and fears
Are omen-like: the poet's dower
Is even as the prophet's power.

Thy image floats before my eyes,
Thy book is on my knee;
I'm musing on what now thou art,
And on what thou wilt be.
Dangerous as a magic spell,
Whose good or evil none can tell,
The gift that is with thee;
For Genius, like all heavenly light,
Can blast as well as bless the sight.

Thou art now in thy dreaming time,
The green leaves on the bough,
The sunshine turning them to gold,
Are pleasures to thee now;
And thou dost love the quiet night,
The stars to thee are a delight;
And not a flower can grow,
But brings before thy haunted glance
The poet days of old romance.

With thine "own people" dost thou dwell,
And by thine own fireside;
And kind eyes keep o'er thee a watch,
Their darling and their pride.
I cannot choose but envy thee;
The very name of home to me
Has been from youth denied;
But yet it seems like sacred ground,
By all earth's best affections bound.

'Tis well for thee thou art not made
Struggle like this to share;
Ill might that gentle, loving heart
The world's cold conflict bear;
Where selfish interest, falsehood, strife,
Strain through their gladiatorial life;
Save that the false ones wear
Seeming and softness and a smile,
As if guilt were effaced by guile.

I dare not speak to thee of fame,
That madness of the soul,
Which flings its life upon one cast,
To reach its desperate goal.
Still the wings destined for the sky
Will long their upward flight to try,
And seek to dare the whole,
Till, space and storm and sunshine past,
Thou find'st thou art alone at last.

But love will be thy recompense,
The love that haunts thy line;
Ay, dream of love, but do not dream
It ever will be thine.
His shadow, not himself, will come;
Too spiritual to be his home,
Thy heart is but his shrine;
For vainest of all earthly things
The poet's vain imaginings.

Go, still the throbbing of thy brow,
The beating of thy heart;
Unstring thy lute, and close thy page,
And choose an humbler part;
Turn not thy glistening eyes above,
Dwell only in thy household love,
Forgetting what thou art;
And yet life like what this must be
Seems but a weary lot for thee.

Or trust thee to thy soaring wing,
Awake the gifted lay;
Fling life's more quiet happiness
For its wild dreams away.
'Tis a hard choice; on either side
Thy heart must with itself divide,
Be thy doom what it may,
Life's best to win, life's best to lose, --
The lot is with thee, maiden -- choose.

Ah no! -- the choice is not thine own, --
The spirit will rebel;
The fire within the poet's heart
Is fire unquenchable.
Far may its usual curse depart,
And light, but not consume, thy heart!
Sweet minstrel, fare thee well!
And may for once the laurel wreath
Not wither all that grows beneath!

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