“My Lamp” by Park Benjamin

by theliterarymaiden


Sewing by Lamplight
After Jean-François Millet

My Lamp
Park Benjamin
From Godey’s Lady’s Book, Volume 41, pg. 360

Shine out, my lamp, with welcome ray,
Thou fair, domestic planet, shine!
For something dearer than by day
Is shown in this sweet light of thine.
My books, which, by the shadows pall
Of evening, hidden were from view,
Look from their shelves along the wall,
Each clothed with a serener hue.

My chairs and tables, like old friends,
Stand round, as if rejoiced to see
That Time is making some amends
For what his wings have swept from me;
Bestowing joys of ripened age,
Loves, friendships, intellectual hours,
Thoughts that maturest minds engage,
Fruits rich as youth’s unfolded flowers.

And better forms than these thy beams
Endow with beauty; kindlier looks
Yield to my soul diviner dreams
Than all the golden stores of books—
My lamp! and well thou know’st how bright
Their smiles appear, when, like a sun
Set sudden on the vault of Night,
Thou shin’st to cheer the saddest one.

My best companion! reft of thee,
What were my happiness below?
Half gone; for dearer far to me
Than daylight’s is thy gentler glow.
Since daylight shows the real scene;
But in thy lustre Fancy flings
A purer grace, a softer mien
Around earth’s frail and common things.

My evening lamp! still mayst thou burn
As constant through the coming years,
When towards the tomb my footsteps turn,
And Love’s fond eyes are wet with tears;
Still may thy radiance through the dark
Shine on with hope and comfort rife,
Till thou hast seen the latest spark
Fade slowly from my lamp of life.