Poems of Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Friendship’s Offering, 1836/The Festival

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THE FESTIVAL

Drawn by W. PurserEngraved by E. Finden





THE FESTIVAL.


BY L. E. L.


It is a festal meeting,
    For flask and fruit are there;
The wind, in its retreating,
    Brings music through the air.
It is an hour for gladness,
    So golden is the day,
If there are signs of sadness.
    Their gloom is done away.

Tho' the past has many a token
    That destruction has been here;
Tho' the column lieth broken,
    And the ruined shrine be near;
The acanthus twines above them,
    The wild flowers know their place;
And we only feel we love them
    For their beauty and their grace.


We think not of their splendour,—
    They are lovelier in decline;
And a dream, the fair and tender,
    Floats o'er the fallen shrine.
If haunted by the beauty
    Of Oreades long past by,
We turn with sweeter duty
    To the soft eyes shining nigh.

Now God be praised that flowers
    In the summer days have birth;
And for the lovely hours
    He sendeth to the earth.
That ilex, whose dark sweeping
    Flings down so sweet a shade,
Seems as if for its sole keeping
    A fairy world were made.

Amid the wild flowers lying
    There is a graceful band;
The green leaves round them sighing,
    And the lute is in their hand.
They are singing sweetest singing,
    It riseth on the air;
Its way to heaven winging
    As if its home were there.


Such hours are more than pleasure;
    When the song itself is o'er,
It lingers like a treasure
    In the heart it cheered before;
And still its memory cheereth,
    And keepeth its sweet hold,
When the weary world appeareth
    Too absolute and cold.

Two apart are standing lonely,
    Watching each other's eyes,
As if the world held only
    The space that in them lies.
You can see her graceful stooping,
    As if she feared to speak;
You can see the long lash drooping
    Upon her rose-red cheek.

The heaven now shining over,
    Has entered in each heart:
That maiden and her lover!
    How little earth has part
In the young and earnest feeling
    Which, like a star, hath shone,
'Mid the spirit's depths revealing
    A world as yet unknown.


This hour will pass—all passes,
    On this life's fleeting scene;
But still the future glasses
    All that the past has been.
This hour will pass, not perish,
    From the heart which now it stirs;
For memory will cherish
    The sweetest which was hers.

When silence has been broken
    By a joy hope could not reach,
And words of love have spoken
    Their first and softest speech.
Forgotten!—never—never—
    They will soothe all after pain,
And life's loveliest things will ever
    Bring back that hour again.