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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Broken Hearted
By Robert Morris
 
I WOULD 1 that thou wert dead, devoted one,
  For thou art all too pure to linger here;
Life’s joyous sands to thee have fleetly run,
  And sorrow’s hand hath made thy being sere—
Thy girlhood was a pure and artless dream,        5
  And many a sunny hope has thrill’d thy breast,
And many an air-blown bubble gilt life’s stream,
  Flash’d for a moment—broke, and sunk to rest—
Emblems of youth and loveliness were they,
And like hope’s fairy visions pass’d away.        10
 
I would that thou wert dead, forsaken girl,
  That high pale brow enshrined within the tomb,
For as with gentle winds still waters curl,
  So fades at sorrow’s touch young beauty’s bloom—
Thou art too pure and fair for this cold earth,        15
  A thing too guiltless long to dwell below,
Thy voice has lost its cadences of mirth,
  The glory has departed from thy brow—
And youth’s pure bloom has left thy virgin heart,
And beauty like a phantom will depart.        20
 
I would that thou wert dead, for life to thee
  Is as a broken reed—a wither’d flower;
Dark shadows rest upon thy destiny,
  And storms of fate around thy fortunes lower—
Wedded to one thy bosom cannot love,        25
  Banish’d from him thine every thought employs,
Thou art in heart a bruised and wounded dove,
  And earth to thee can yield no future joys,
Wearily passes life and time with thee,
A dusky shadow dims thy destiny.        30
 
I would that thou wert dead, devoted one,
  And thy bright spirit disenthrall’d of clay;
Even as the dew-drop wastes beneath the sun,
  Thus by disease thy being wastes away—
Oh, who that knew thee when thou wert a child,        35
  With a glad voice and heaven unfolding eye,
A creature as the snow flake undefiled,
  With a bright lip and cheek of rosy dye,
Oh, who that knew thee then, can see thee now,
Nor wonder for the beauty of thy brow.        40
 
I would that thou wert dead, and sanctified—
  Thy spirit with high element is fraught,
And that which scorn and cruelty defied,
The lingering stealth of pale disease has wrought—
Yes, death is near thee now, sweet Genevieve,        45
  And thou shalt haste to meet him with a smile;
It is in vain thy gentle sisters grieve,
  Thy soul shall soon flee by each starry isle,
That glitters brightly through the calm blue skies,
Like white lids lifted from pure spirit’s eyes.        50
 
Thou soon shalt die, sweet martyr, and the earth
  Will nurture gentle flowers above thy grave,
Sweet emblems of thy being and thy birth,
  With cypress leaves around thy tomb shall wave—
And when the pensive stranger wanders nigh,        55
  His lips shall waft a tributary prayer,
For her who soon shall prematurely die,
  For her whose seraph form shall moulder there—
Farewell, sweet Genevieve—’t is sad to part—
Farewell, thy beauty shrouds a breaking heart.        60
 
Note 1. Morris is a native of Philadelphia. He is the editor of the Philadelphia Album. [back]
 
 
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