The Ringlet

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OH! treasured thus by passion's slave,
Dear relic of the bygone year;
Say, what remains of her who gave?
The vain regret--the useless tear.
The clasping hands--the throbbing brow--
The murmuring of that shadowy word,
To which had answered once--oh! now,
Why is that light quick step unheard?

What in those syllables is found,
That such a start of woe can claim?
A word is but an empty sound,--
Alas! it is--it was--her name!
It was--yes, she was once! as gay,
As full of life, as aught that lives;
The breath--the life--hath passed away,
But not the pang her memory gives.

Bright tress! thy beauty bringeth now
A thousand dreams of rapture gone;
Her sunny eyes, her radiant brow,
The low, light laughter of her tone.
Gazing on thee, again she stands
Before me, as in days of old;
With all her young head's shining bands,
And all its wavy curls of gold.

Till as I view thee, silken tress,
I feel within my suffering heart,--
'Tis all which now my sight can bless,
All that of her will not depart.
Oh! thou that wert life's dearest prize,
That now art but a thought of pain;
Why do thy tones--thy laughing eyes--
Rise up to wring my soul again?

I roam in vain:--the sun that beams
Is still the sun we looked upon;
My hand, my lonely hand, in dreams,
Seeks still for thine to clasp its own.
My heart resists all time--all change,
And finds no other form so dear.
My memory, wheresoe'er I range,
Clings to the spot where thou wert near.

Change!--thou wert all life's scenery:
To me, the billowy, bounding wave--
The wide green earth--the far blue sky,
Form but the landscape of thy grave!

Oh! bitter is their boon of life
Who cannot hope--who may not die--
I linger in a world of strife,
Whilst thou art in the happy sky!
I envy thee the peace thou hast,
And, but 'tis sin, the knee would bow,
That He who made thee all thou wast,
Would make me all--that thou art now!

© Caroline Norton