Poems of Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Friendship’s Offering, 1826/Hindoo Girl

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Hindoo Girl Westmacott.png

Drawn by H. Corbould.Engraved by J. Thomson.

HINDOO GIRL.

FROM A GROUP BY WESTMACOTT.


HINDOO GIRL, BY AN URN.


FROM A GROUP, BY WESTMACOTT.


BY L. E. L.


She leant beneath an alma tree, which flung
A shower of leaves and blossoms o'er her head,—
But faded all of them: this made the place
A fitting temple for her; like her joys,
The fresh sweet flowers grew far above her reach;
But, like her griefs, the withered ones were strewed
Beneath her feet, and mingled with her hair,
Her long black hair, which swept round like a cloud,
And had no other wreath than those sad leaves.
Her brow was bowed upon a marble urn,
Pale as its cold, white pillow; on her cheek
Lingered the grace which beauty ever leaves,
Although herself be gone; her large dark eye
Was as a picture's, fixed and motionless,
With only one expression.—There are griefs
That hunt, like, hounds, our happiness away;
And cares that, ivy-like, fix on our hopes.
But these are nothing—though they waste the heart—
To when one single sorrow, like the rod,
The serpent rod, has swallowed up the rest.

    Her history was on every lip; they told,

At first, a common tale;—she loved, was loved,
And love was destiny and happiness.
But red war was abroad; and there are charms
In the bright sabre, flashing to the sun,
The banner, crimson as the morning sky
It seems to meet, the thunder of the drum,
The clashing atabal, the haughty steed
Impatient for the battle, and the ranks,
Glittering and glorious in their armed array:
Aye, these have charms—but not for woman's dreams.
The youth went to the warfare, where he fell,
Unknown, unnamed, unmissed;—it is the fate
Of thousands, swept away like autumn leaves,
Young, brave, with heart and hand, and all that makes
The hero,—but in vain. And where is she,
His lovely, lonely one? Not in her bower,
Not in her father's hall; no more they see
Her white veil floating on the evening air,
The moon-light shining on the mystic bark
She watched so anxiously. Again she came;
But not the same, as when, with summer flowers
And scented lamp, she sought the river side;
But pale and silent, like a shadowy thing
That has looked on the other world, and known
The secrets of the grave, but forced, awhile,
To linger on the earth it loathes. She held
Within her arms an urn; beneath the shade
Of the tree which had been the favourite haunt
Of her young lover, at the twilight hour—
For then they met—she placed her treasure down.

    It was a tale of wonder, and soon spread.
She had been to the distant battle field,
And wandered 'mid the dying and the dead,
Gazing on many a ghastly face; at last,
She found her lover, and this was his urn.—
And leaning on that urn is her employ:
And still, at the lone hour, when the first star
Rises o'er the blue Ganges, will she sing
A low and plaining melancholy song.
At other times, she leans beside the urn,
As she were but a statue placed by grief
In memory of love!