Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Romance
By Mary E. Brooks
 
THE WARRIOR 1 knelt before the maid—
  A blush came o’er her cheek;
Telling, as o’er her brow it play’d,
  What not her tongue would speak.
 
“Ah! yes,” he softly said, “thou ’lt be        5
  My own, my lily bride;”
And still, in maiden purity,
  That maiden blush replied.
 
Life, love, and hope were in their spring,
  Beneath a cloudless sky;        10
The wild bird spread its silken wing,
  But breathed less melody.
 
Young nectar from the myrtle bower
  The honey-bee might sip;
The warrior found a sweeter flower        15
  In the dew of the maidens’s lip.
 
Still does the wild bird cleave the sky,
  The honey-bee is glad:
Why dim with tears that maiden’s eye,
  And why that warrior sad?        20
 
“Maiden! dost fear to meet the storm
  That shades a soldier’s way?
The gems that deck the lordling’s form—
  Dost sigh for such as they?
 
“I woo thee not with glittering braid        25
  And jewels for thy hair—
The golden gift that wins the maid
  An idle vow may bear.”
 
Still does the wild bird cleave the sky,
  The honey-bee is glad;        30
Why dim with tears that maiden eye,
  And why that warrior sad?
 
“To horse! to horse! my melody
  Shall be the battle cry,
And the war trump of victory        35
  As sweet as woman’s sigh!
 
“For fetter’d birds go free again,
  And love can dream of scorn;
When woman idly weaves the chain,
  As idly be it worn.”        40
 
Still does the wild bird cleave the sky,
  The honey bee is gay,
But tears bedimm’d that maiden’s eye
  As the warrior pass’d away.
 
“They say there ’s bliss in the princely train,        45
  And in a robe of pride;
Then wake for me the bridal strain”—
  The maiden said and sigh’d.
 
Loud laughter fills the banquet hall,
  There ’s music in the grove,        50
And steps as light as music’s fall
  To catch the voice of love.
 
She led the dance in merry glee,
  Her song was on the wind,
And the red rose lay gracefully        55
  Within her hair reclined.
 
But hark! the harper’s minstrelsy—
  Of other days a part!
She glanced upon the myrtle tree
  And icy felt her heart;        60
 
And a shade was on the festal hour,
  The jewel lights grew dim;
She only saw that myrtle bower,
  She only thought of him.
 
“Oh! take me where the breezes swell,        65
  Far from the haunts of pride,
For they say there ’s joy where wild flowers dwell,”—
  The maiden said and sigh’d.
 
The forest blossoms bound her brow,
  But the heart was cold below;        70
And if she wakes the harp-strings now,
  What can they breathe but wo?
 
“That dream—that dream—it comes again,
  Link’d with its broken vow;
As beautiful, as frail, as then,        75
  They stand before me now!
 
“Gather the young, the fair, the free,
  Where a thousand torches glare,
With lyre and wreath and revelry—
  Still is that vision there!        80
 
“It comes when summer skies are bright,
  On the laugh of the morning breeze—
It comes when evening’s misty light
  Has swept the sleeping seas”—
 
An early rest in the sullen pall,        85
  One dream with the death pang wove—
Oh! never of gems or of festal hall—
  But that first young dream of love!
 
Note 1. Brooks is the wife of James G. Brooks, already mentioned. Her pieces have been published under the signature of Norna. [back]
 
 
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