Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BLACKSMITH'S DAUGHTER, by JAMES H. STODDART



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE BLACKSMITH'S DAUGHTER, by            
First Line: Away, philosophy and creeds!
Last Line: Thy dawn of love, fair musing maid!
Subject(s): Beauty; Daughters; Knowledge


AWAY, philosophy and creeds!
Here in the honey-suckle's bower --
Which at the garden's farthest edge
Looks on the streamlet while it speeds,
Sunlit and gleaming through a shower,
Away o'er pebbles and through sedge --
Sits, with her needle, Isabel,
The Smith's young daughter, fair and tall,
As sweet a maiden for a song
As e'er did poet's heart enthral.

Her eyes are steadfast as a well
Of living water in its pit,
When to its depths immeasurable
A zenith star has lighted it.
Her face is ruddy with the health
Pure blood through all her body whirls;
And worth all gems of greatest wealth
Is the luxuriance of her curls.
She shakes them gaily in the sun,
Nor knows how witchingly they fall
About the marble of her throat.
Though dearly loved and prais'd by all,
She hardly knows she has begun
To blossom into perfect flower --
The perfect flower of womanhood.
. . . . . .
Much given to meditation's sway,
Nought loves she better than to see
The red light softly die away
Beyond the woods, beyond the moor.
Then steals she past the smithy door,
Rejoicing in her friend, the Night --
Her heart, her eyes, all brimming o'er
With youthful feelings of delight.
She seeks new life beneath the moon,
And happy thoughts that crave the boon
Of speech from her sweet lips, while high
Above, the stars are burning bright
In the blue lift, that to her eye
Seems veiling heaven from mortal sight.

The little stream is bubbling near,
And many a flickering gleam of light,
Through the dark trees and purple leaves,
Fall on its wavelets, soft and white.
. . . . . .
What thinks she, as her fair feet move
Along the margin of the stream?
Does she philosophise? or dream?
Her father's hard divinity
Is all she knows; and only knows
In her dear soul its better part --
Its softness and serenity,
Its loving, breathing, ardent heart.
. . . . . .
The Word by her,
In its pure life and loveliness,
Is freshly lov'd. Does it not stir
Within her heart on such a night
Holy emotions, like the bliss
Of perfect praise and saintly prayers?
Its beauty mingles with her faith.
The Lord of all, whose love she shares,
His Son divine, and human too,
Seem moving from the sphere of blue,
And, coming down upon the trees,
Are present in the mellow light
Of moon -- are breathing through the night;
For beauty, love, and holy peace
Are theirs; and the fair earth reveals
Th' Eternal Presence that it feels.
Ah, gaze away, with shining eyes,
O'er all the mellow'd moonlight view,
Fair maiden, meditative, wise,
Deep thoughts will come, and feelings new;
For, just as shyly steals you beam
Aslant the arch that spans the stream,
Till, in a corner, long in shade,
A dark-eyed pool its light receives;
So, on the calmness of thy soul,
A quickening beam of love will light,
Giving new hopes and strange delight,
Absorbing thoughts and passions -- all!
And in the sacred inner shrine
Create an image half-divine,
A form of manliness and grace
To love, to cling to, and embrace:
Thy dawn of love, fair musing maid!





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