Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Stanzas
By Emma C. Embury (1806–1863)
 
OH! knowest thou, dear one, the love of youth
With its wayward fancies, its untried truth;
Yet cloudless and warm as the sunny ray
That opens the flowers of a summer’s day,
Unfolding the passionate thoughts that lie        5
’Mid feelings pure as an angel’s sigh;
Till the loftiest strength of our nature wakes
As an infant giant from slumber breaks:
Oh, knowest thou, dear, what this love may be?
In earlier days such was mine for thee.        10
 
Oh, knowest thou, dear one, of woman’s love
With its faith that woes more deeply prove;
Its fondness wide as the limitless wave,
And chainless by aught than the silent grave;
With devotion as humble as that which brings        15
To his idol the Indian’s offerings;
Yet proud as that which the priestess feels,
When she nurses the flame of the shrine while she knee
Oh, knowest thou, dear, what this love may be?
Such ever has been in my heart for thee.        20
 
Oh knowest thou the love of a poet’s soul,
Of the mind that from heaven its brightness stole,
When the gush of song, like the life-blood springs
Uncheck’d from the heart, and the spirit’s wings
Are nerved anew in a loftier flight        25
To seek for its idol a crown of light;
When the visions that wake beneath fancy’s beam,
But serve to brighten an earthly dream:
Oh, knowest thou, dear, what this love may be?
Such long has been in my heart for thee.        30
 
Oh, tell me, dear, can such love decay
Like the sapless weed in the morning ray?
Can the love of earlier, brighter years
Be chased away like an infant’s tears?
Can the long tried faith of a woman’s heart        35
Like a summer bird from its nest depart?
Can affection nursed within fancy’s bowers,
Find deadly herbs ’mid those fragrant flowers?
Oh! no, beloved one, it cannot be:
Such end awaits not my love for thee.        40
 
Youth’s pure fresh feelings have faded now;
But not less warm is love’s summer glow;
Dark frowns may wither, unkindness blight
The heart where thou art the only light;
And coldness may freeze the wild gush of song,        45
Or chill the spirit once tameless and strong;
And the pangs of neglected love may prey
Too fatally, dear, on this fragile clay;
But never, Oh! never beloved, can it be
That my heart should forget its deep fondness for thee.        50
 
 
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