To The Lady H.O.

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COME o'er the green hills to the sunny sea!
The boundless sea that washeth many lands,
Where shells unknown to England, fair and free,
Lie brightly scatter'd on the gleaming sands.
There, 'midst the hush of slumbering ocean's roar,
We'll sit and watch the silver-tissued waves
Creep languidly along the basking shore,
And kiss thy gentle feet, like Eastern slaves.

And we will take some volume of our choice,
Full of a quiet poetry of thought,
And thou shalt read me, with thy plaintive voice,
Lines which some gifted mind hath sweetly wrought;
And I will listen, gazing on thy face,
(Pale as some cameo on the Italian shell!)
Or looking out across the far blue space,
Where glancing sails to gentle breezes swell.

Come forth! The sun hath flung on Thetis' breast
The glittering tresses of his golden hair;
All things are heavy with a noonday rest,
And floating sea-birds leave the stirless air.
Against the sky, in outlines clear and rude,
The cleft rocks stand, while sunbeams slant between;
And lulling winds are murmuring thro' the wood,
Which skirts the bright bay with its fringe of green.

Come forth! All motion is so gentle now,
It seems thy step alone should walk the earth,--
Thy voice alone, the "ever soft and low,"
Wake the far-haunting echoes into birth.
Too wild would be love's passionate store of hope,
Unmeet the influence of his changeful power,--
Ours be companionship, whose gentle scope
Hath charm enough for such a tranquil hour.

And slowly, idly wandering, we will roam,
Where the high cliffs shall give us ample shade;
And watch the glassy waves, whose wrathful foam
Hath power to make the seaman's heart afraid.
Seek thou no veil to shroud thy soft brown hair,--
Wrap thou no mantle round thy graceful form;
The cloudless sky smiles forth as still and fair
As tho' earth ne'er could know another storm.

Come! Let not listless sadness make delay,--
Beneath Heaven's light that sadness will depart;
And as we wander on our shoreward way,
A strange, sweet peace shall enter in thine heart.
We will not weep, nor talk of vanish'd years,
When, link by link, Hope's glittering chain was riven:
Those who are dead, shall claim from love no tears,--
Those who have injured us; shall be forgiven.

Few have my summers been, and fewer thine;--
Youth blighted is the weary lot of both:
To both, all lonely shows our life's declne,
Both with old friends and ties have waxéd wroth.
But yet we will not weep! The breathless calm
Which lulls the golden earth, and wide blue sea,
Shall pour into our souls mysterious balm,
And fill us with its own tranquillity.

We will not mar the scene--we will not look
To the veil'd future, or the shadowy past;
Seal'd up shall be sad Memory's open book,
And childhood's idleness return at last!
Joy, with his restless, ever-fluttering wings,
And Hope, his gentle brother,--all shall cease:
Like weary hinds that seek the desert springs,
Our one sole feeling shall be peace--deep peace!

© Caroline Norton