Landon in The New Monthly 1836/Petrarch’s Dream

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Landon in The New Monthly 1836 (1836) by Letitia Elizabeth Landon
Petrarch’s Dream
2397457Landon in The New Monthly 1836 — Petrarch’s Dream1836Letitia Elizabeth Landon

I.

Petrarch's Dream.

Rosy as a waking bride
By her royal lover's side,
Flows the Sorgia's haunted tide
      Through the laurel grove,—
Through the grove which Petrarch gave,
All that can escape the grave—
      Fame, and song, and love.

He had left a feverish bed
For the wild flowers at his head,
And the dews the green leaves shed
      O'er his charmed sleep:
From his hand had dropp'd the scroll
To which Virgil left his soul
      Through long years to keep.

Passion on that cheek had wrought,
Its own paleness had it brought;
Passion marks the lines of thought:
      We must feel to think.
Care and toil had flung their shade
Over that bright head, now laid
      By the river's brink.

Youth that, like a fever, burns;
Struggle, scorning what it earns;
Knowledge, loathing as it learns;
      Worn and wasted heart!
And a song whose secrets are
In its innermost despair;—
      Such the poet's part!

But what rises to efface
Time's dark shadows from that face?
Doth the heart its image trace
      In the morning dream?
Yes; it is its light that shines
Far amid the dusky pines,
      By the Sorgia's stream.

Flowers up-springing, bright and sweet,
At the pressure of their feet,
As the summer came to greet
      Each white waving hand.
Round them kindles the dark air;
Golden with their golden hair,
      Glide a lovely band.


Spirits, starry Spirits, they,
That attend the radiant day,
When the freed soul burst the clay
      Of its prison wall:
Distant visions they appear;
For we only dream of, here,
      Things etherial.

But one glideth gently nigh,
Human love within her eye,—
Love that is too true to die,—
      That is heaven's own.
Let the angel's first look dwell
Where the mortal loved so well,
      Ere yet life was flown.

To that angel-look was given
All that ever yet from heaven
Purified the earthly leaven
      Of a beating heart.
She hath breathed of hope and love,
As they warm the world above;—
      She must now depart.

Aye, I say that love hath power
On the spirit's dying hour,
Sharing its immortal dower,
      Mastering its doom:
For that fair and mystic dream
By the Sorgia's hallowed stream,
      Kindled from the tomb.