Lines Suggested by the Recent Death of a Relative [poem, 26 August 1830]

[Editor: Published in Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 26 August 1830.]

Lines Suggested by the Recent Death of a Relative.

He came, not many moons ago,
To find a bright asylum here;
The pride of hope was on his brow,
As if he ne’er had known a tear!

Around his children frolick’d wild,
Too young to feel a vagrant sigh; —
While she, their mother, blest each child,
And caught her courage from his eye!

Upon her cheek the glow of truth
Gave lustre to the beautiful!
While on his brow the bloom of youth
Made manliness more bountiful.

Their hearts were fill’d with silent praise
To him who ’midst the battling storm
Had borne the vessel o’er the seas,
And saved from harm each lovely form.

The past dissonance now seemed gone,
And melody each present strain; —
They felt as if misfortune’s tone
Should ne’er disturb the heart again!

But soon the syren spell was broke,
And sickness o’er the bosom swept;
And eyes that erst in rapture spoke,
In maddening anguish closed, and wept!

That frame, whose youthful giant power
Appear’d to stretch to years to come,
Fades like the autumn’s latest flower,
And changes in its summer bloom!

Just like the quick electric flame,
That zig-zag revels ’cross the sky,
Disease shot thro’ his iron frame
In morbid dull manity.

Then, then the colours hope had flung
O’er life, — from fading who could save?
Since lips where wedded passion hung
Closed their last sentence in the grave!

The heavenly harmony of bliss
That held the heart but now its own;
Dies in misfortune’s deep excess,
And finds its closing note — a groan!

See the poor fair in sorrow bound —
Her widow’d heart in anguish riven —
She turns for comfort wildly round,
But elevates her soul to heaven!

Alone she stands on life’s bleak heath,
Like the lone tree the storm has left;
Doom’d still to draw her heavy breath,
Altho’ her heart the blast has cleft!

Her children look into her face,
And cry and laugh, they know not why:—
The grave to them’s no fearful place,
They know not what it is to die!

J. M.

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW), 26 August 1830, p. 4

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