Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Hope
By A. M. Wells
 
THERE 1 sits a woman on the brow
  Of yonder rocky height;
There, gazing o’er the waves below,
  She sits from morn till night.
 
She heeds not how the mad waves leap        5
  Along the rugged shore;
She looks for one upon the deep
  She never may see more.
 
As morning twilight faintly gleams,
  Her shadowy form I trace;        10
Wrapt in the silvery mist, she seems
  The Genius of the place!
 
Far other once was Rosalie;
  Her smile was glad; her voice,
Like music o’er a summer sea,        15
  Said to the heart—rejoice.
 
O’er her pure thoughts did sorrow fling
  Perchance a shade, ’t would pass,
Lightly as glides the breath of Spring
  Along the bending grass.        20
 
A sailor’s bride ’t was hers to be:—
  Wo to the faithless main!
Nine summers since he went to sea,
  And ne’er returned again.
 
But long, where all is wrecked beside,        25
  And every joy is chased,
Long, long will lingering Hope abide
  Amid the dreary waste!
 
Nine years—though all have given him o’er,
  Her spirit doth not fail;        30
And still she waits along the shore
  The never coming sail.
 
On that high rock, abrupt and bare,
  Ever she sits, as now;
The dews have damped her flowing hair,        35
  The sun has scorched her brow.
 
And every far-off sail she sees,
  And every passing cloud,
Or white-winged sea-bird, on the breeze,
  She calls to it aloud.        40
 
The sea-bird answers to her cry;
  The cloud, the sail float on.—
The hoarse wave mocks her misery,
  Yet is her hope not gone:—
 
It cannot go:—with that to part,        45
  So long, so fondly nursed,
So mingled with her faithful heart,
  That heart itself would burst.
 
When falling dews the clover steep,
  And birds are in their nest,        50
And flower-buds folded up to sleep,
  And ploughmen gone to rest,
 
Down the rude track her feet have worn,
  —There scarce the goat may go;—
Poor Rosalie, with look forlorn,        55
  Is seen descending slow.
 
But when the gray morn tints the sky,
  And lights that lofty peak,—
With a strange lustre in her eye,
  A fever in her cheek,        60
 
Again she goes, untired, to sit
  And watch, the live-long day;
Nor till the star of eve is lit,
  E’er turns her steps away.
 
Hidden, and deep, and never dry,—        65
  Or flowing, or at rest,
A living spring of hope doth lie
  In every human breast.
 
All else may fail, that soothes the heart,—
  All, save that fount alone;        70
With that and life at once we part,
  For life and hope are one.
 
Note 1. Mrs Wells is the wife of Thomas Wells, of Boston, noticed in the second volume. She writes with sweetness and simplicity. [back]
 
 
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