Lurline [poem by Henry Kendall]

[Editor: This poem by Henry Kendall was published in Poems and Songs (1862).]


(Inscribed to Madame Lucy Escott.)

As you glided and glided before us that time,
A mystical, magical maiden,
We fancied we looked on a face from the clime
Where the Poets have builded their Aidenn !
And oh, the sweet shadows ! And oh, the warm gleams !
Which lay on the land of our beautiful dreams,
While we walked by the margins of musical streams,
And heard your wild warbling around us !

We forgot what we were when we stood with the trees
Near the banks of those silvery waters ;
As ever in fragments they came on the breeze,
The songs of old Rhine and his daughters !
And then you would pass with those radiant eyes,
Which flashed like a light in the tropical skies —
And ah ! the bright thoughts that would sparkle and rise
While we heard your wild warbling around us.

Will you ever fly back to this city of ours,
With your harp, and your voice, and your beauty ?
God knows we rejoice when we meet with such flowers
On the hard road of Life and of Duty !
Oh ! come as you did with that face and that tone,
For we wistfully look to the hours which have flown,
And long for a glimpse of the gladness that shone
When we heard your wild warbling around us.

Henry Kendall, Poems and Songs, J. R. Clarke, Sydney, 1862, pages 115-116

Editor’s notes:
Aidenn = Eden (the Garden of Eden, from the Bible); paradise

Lurline = (a variation of Loreley or Lorelei) a female water spirit associated with a huge rock formation on the eastern bank of the Rhine, south of St. Goarshausen (Sankt Goar), Germany; the spirit is part of German folklore, as given popular expression in Clemens Brentano’s poem “Zu Bacharach am Rheine” (“At Bacharach on the Rhine”) (Bacharach is some distance south of the Loreley rock) and Heinrich Heine’s poem “Die Lorelei” (“The Lorelei”)

Rhine and his daughters = the Rhine river in Europe and its tributaries; in mythology, Father Rhine and the Rhine maidens (or Rhine daughters), as given popular expression in Richard Wagner’s operatic story of “The Ring of the Nibelung” (Der Ring des Nibelungen)

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