Poems of Felicia Hemans in Forget Me Not, 1826/The Sister's Dream

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Sister's Dream (Corbould).png


Painted by H. CorbouldEngraved by S. Davenport

Taken from The Mercury, 13th May 1828


By Mrs Hemans.

She sleeps!—but not the free and sunny sleep
    That lightly on the brow of childhood lies,
Though happy be her rest, and soft, and deep,
    Yet, ere it sank upon her shadow'd eyes,
Thoughts of past scenes and kindred graves o'erswept
Her soul's meek stillness—she had pray'd and wept.

And now in visions to her couch they come,
    The early lost—the beautiful—the dead—
That unto her bequeathed a mournful home,
    Whence with their voices all sweet laughter fled:
They rise—the sisters of her youth arise,
As from the world where no frail blossom dies.

And well the sleeper knows them not of earth,
    Not as they were when binding up the flowers
Telling wild legends, round the winter hearth,
    Braiding their long fair hair for festal hours;
These things are past;— a spiritual gleam,
A solemn glory, robes them in that dream.

Yet, if the glee of life's fresh budding years,
    In those pure aspects may no more be read,
Thence, too, hath sorrow melted—and the tears
    Which o'er their mother's holy dust they shed
Are all effaced;—there earth has left no sign,
Save its deep love, still touching every line.

But oh! more soft, more tender, breathing more
    A thought of pity than in vanish'd days;
While, hovering silently and brightly o'er
    The lone one's head, they meet her spirit's gaze
With their immortal eyes, that seem to say,
"Yet, sister!—yet we love thee—come away!"

'Twill fade, the radiant dream!—and will she not,
    Wake with more painful yearning at her heart
Will not her home seem still a lonlier spot,
    Her tasks more sad, when those bright shadows part?
And the green summer after them look dim,
And sorrow's tone be in the bird's wild hymn?

But let her hope be strong! and let the dead
    Visit her soul in heaven's calm beauty still!
Be their names uttered, be their memory spread
    Yet round the place they never more may fill!
All is not over with earth's broken tie—
Where, where should sisters love, if not on high?