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    THE VESTAL VIRGIN.   Table of Contents     THE HERMIT.

Bibb, Eloise



Oh, for a drink, to-night,
Mixed by some god of might,
A draught of strange device,
Though of exorbitant price,
To give this tortured soul
The calmness of control!

Oh, for a cup of balm
From a kind and heavenly palm,
To soothe the aching pain
That racks this tired brain
With never-ending thought
Of the battle that must be fought!

Oh, for a potion strong
To keep the soul from wrong;
To give me strongest will
These waves of pain to still;
To ease this heaving breast,
So wild with deep unrest!

A balm I ask? For shame!
How dare I breathe the name!
What balm is there for care,
Except one heartfelt prayer
To Osiris full of love,
Who weeps for me above

Away with sighs of pain!
Away with tears like rain,
That blind this tired eye
And cause the heart to sigh.
This truth I've found, I bless,
There is no happiness.

Ah! poets sing of love,
Fashioned by Powers above.
'Tis naught but fancy wrought,
A flimsy, graceful thought
As fatally false as vain,
Trust not the tale again.

They paint two hearts as one,
Who know no other sun
But the light from violet eyes
In their connubial skies
Of a love that ends with breath,
True ever until death.

Years have I watched this thing
Of which these wise bards sing;
Through Winter's frost and snow,
I've seen a spectre go,
Resembling Venus fair,
Which they do paint with care.

And when flowers of spring,
To earth their fragrance bring,
This phantom, still, I chase,
I run with her a race,
And seek to grasp the hand
Which say they, hearts command.

And when the autumn came,
I watched her just the same;
In rosy, fragrant June,
When time had reached her noon,
Forsooth, I saw her there,
Just as she fled in air.

She is a siren bright,
That oft your hearts delight;
Garbed in a mantle black,
She heart and soul doth rack
Not constant, nor yet true,
A bitter foe to you.

Enough, ye bards, of love
Fashioned by hands above,
That live, ye sing, alway,
And grow more bright each day.
Go to! and tune thy Muse,
To sing us truthful news.

Nor tell me, ye, of joy,
Do not my soul annoy
With hopes that never bloom!
Better ye bought my tomb,
And laid me down to rest,
Than tire this weary breast!

I'll harden brain and heart.
Thy oft-sung Cupid's dart
Will never pierce my soul
Through the armor of control.
Away with pain and strife,
I'll live a restful life.

I long not now for balm,
This reckless soul to calm!
Keep thou, ye gods, your drink,
I fear not now to think,
The violent storm has past,
And I breathe peace at last.

    THE VESTAL VIRGIN.   Table of Contents     THE HERMIT.