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TO A YOUNG LADY,
WHO STARTED WITH DISGUST AT THE SIGHT OF
A HUMAN SKULL.
Nay, dearest! turn not thus away,
Nor shade those soft and deep-blue eyes; Yon fearful emblem of decay
Should teach my Rosa to be wise.
That ghastly head thou canst not brook
Was once a thing of smiles and tears ; Had once perchance thy beaming look,
Or reckon'd half thy sum of years.
Perchance it glitter'd in the dance,
Or sweetly sad, or lightly gay: Perchance its bright and winning glance
Has rous'd, like thine, the poet's lay.
But now, a void and nauseous cell,
'Twill house the reptile and its brood; And there, where life was wont to dwell,
The worm in vain will search for food.
Nay, frown not at my
song, It is not meant to cause disgust; Yet all thou view'st in pleasure's throng,
Like yonder skull, must turn to dust,
Thus, Rosa! to thy guileless mind
A moral in yon head is shown; For, musing on its fate, thou'lt find
A sad memento of thine own.
THE MAID OF WATERLOO.
I stood upon the scene of death,
Where war had roll'd its fiery tide; And silently I held my breath,
Where chiefs had bled, and heroes died ; And mus’d on those who slept around, Heap'd in unconsecrated ground.
'Twas then, my beautiful Susette!
I first beheld thy beaming face; First gaz'd upon thine eye of jet,
Thine airy step, and nameless grace ; While decking with each flowery wreath The graves of those who slept beneath.
I deem'd not then that aught had
power My soul from gloomier thoughts to wile; I deem'd not, in that silent hour,
It e'en could bend to beauty's smile;
And yet, when I am far away,
And 'twixt us rolls the angry main ; Thou still with fairy feet wilt stray,
To gather wild flowers from the plain; And still wilt pause--as if thy tread Could rouse the slumbers of the dead.
Yet if the forms which rest around
Could rouse them from their dreamless sleep; If each young heart once more could bound,
To mark the eyes that o'er him weep; They'd deem thou wert an angel given To point the way from earth to heaven.