I breathed a word that grief had wrought.
It winged its flight into the air,
Then pierced the haunts and souls of men,
And left its tears and laughter there.
It was a word flung from a heart
That knew but misery and tears, —
A word that knew its lowly birth
In throes of agony and fears.
Though nursed by suffering and trial,
It spread and flourished in its flight,
And wondering I beheld it glow,
Adorned in sparkling jewels bright.
And soon upon a throne of gold
It ruled in radiance and might, —
The hope and faith of sunless hearts,
The darkened bosom's torch of light.
I marvelled at that vision fair,
The offspring of my passion's fires;
Resistless was its beauty as
It filled men's souls with strange desires.
I wondered much, and smiled to see
How over souls of men it reigned,
How it had sprung from misery
That birth with tears of blood had stained —
A solitary word of woe,
Abused, objected and profaned.

 

  On quiet sleep you lie, fair maid,
With curly locks that lure the eye.
What visions, thoughts invade your dreams
As you rest here beneath the sky?
With beating heart and hurrying feet
You pass this forest every day.
Woe if you meet the tiger fierce,
The wolf or bear upon your way!
* * *
A light worn garment hid her form.
Her feet in slippers soft were clad.
The beauty of her arms on which
Her head reposed nigh made me mad.
A sheep-skin sack hung on her back,
A shepherd's rod beside her lay.
She slumbered on and sleep brought her
A short respite from toils of day.
Oblivious of any fear,
No troubled dreams disturbed her sleep,
Yet, for that angel of the woods
I feared, and prayed to God to keep
Her safe from every future pain.
Though I, by fate, am doomed to wander
With dire misfortune all my life,
God, may Thy blessings fall upon her,
For if those eyes are closed by death,
And no more will they brightly glow,
What other fires can warm my heart
Or on it equal joys bestow?
O mounts! O trees! O flowing streams!
On ye I call in humble prayer,
This lass, the angel of my dreams,
From pain and sorrow shield fore'er!

  Pour me the wine of liquid flame,
And steep my soul in rubied flow;
Perhaps twill banish cares away,
And tinge with rose this world of woe
Perchance 'twill drown the pangs of life
In Bacchus' horn of nectared fire,
And Fancy find for me a maid
Upon whose bosom I'll expire.
On whirlwind's wing my steed and I
Will cleave the waves of oceans wide.
We'll fly the haunts of mortal man
Where every joy of mine has died.
For death on high is sweeter far
Than life upon the earth below
Which is an urn of buried hopes,
Floating on a sea of woe.