The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

Tag: poet

“The Poet’s Life” from the Knickerbocker


Engraving of English poet Felicia Hemans.

The Poet’s Life
From the Knickerbocker, Volume 50, July, 1857, pg. 36.

Think not the dreaming poet’s heart,
Creating an ideal life,
Has feebler power to act its part
In real scenes of toil and strife.

Who breathes in song the burning thought
Which quickens life in slumbering mind,
A nobler deed of life has wrought
Than kings who lord it o’er mankind.

Who breaks the fetters of the soul
Which bind to earth the struggling slave,
Wields over human life control,
That strength of muscle never gave.

“Sonnet—Summer” by William Alexander

William Alexander
From Godey’s Lady’s Book, August 1849, pg. 101.

When sighing Summer softly holds her reign,
Attended by tranquility and peace;
The fields are yellow with the golden grain,
And fruitful Earth yields up her full increase—
Now purple Morning, soon, awakes to see
The reaper haste on labor’s early way;
Mild Evening gilds with lingering light each tree;
While weary warblers sing their parting lay—
Yet, though all nature fills me with delight,
I think—how strange that Spring should disappear;
That summer pleasures, too, but reach their height;
And Autumn’s fading mornings “dim” the year—
How calm, how cloudless, hath now pass’d away
Our childhood’s happy summer holiday.

“The Poet’s Home” by John Sterling

The Poet’s Home
John Sterling
From The Poetical Works of John Sterling, 1842

IN the cavern’s lonely hall,
By the mighty waterfall,
Lives a spirit shy and still,
Whom the soften’d murmurs thrill,
Heard within the twilight nook,
Like the music of a brook.

Poet ! thus sequester’d dwell,
In they fancy’s haunted cell,
That the floods abroad may be
Like a voice of peace to thee,
While thou giv’st to nature’s tone
Soul and sweetness all thy own.

Hear, but, ah ! intrust thee not
To the waves beyond thy grot,
Lest thy low and wizard strain
Warble through the storm in vain,
And thy dying songs deplore
Thou must see thy cave no more.

“The Streamlet” by Charles Fenno Hoffman

Hoffman’s “The Streamlet” is a refreshing quatrain, one which is compact with bright imagery and languid movement. The core of his message focuses on likening the course of life to a streamlet—ever-flowing and carrying us on through the trials of life unto death, where we may thus perpetually glide on. Albeit simple in nature, this poem succinctly encapsulates Hoffman’s message in a refreshing way through his imagery, as forementioned, thus, in our opinion, making it a delightful read.

The Streamlet.
Charles Fenno Hoffman

HOW silently yon streamlet slides
From out the twilight-shaded bowers !
How, soft as sleep, it onward glides
In sunshine through its dreaming flowers.

That tranquil wave, now turn’d to gold
Beneath the slowly westering sun,
It is the same, far on the wold,
Whose foam this morn we gazed upon.

The leaden sky, the barren waste,
The torrent we this morning knew,
How changed are all ! as now we haste
To bid them, with the day, adieu !

Ah ! thus should life and love at last
Grow bright and sweet when death is near :
May we, our course of trial pass’d,
Thus bathed in beauty glide from here !

“Woman” by William Herbert

Mr. Herbert was commonly known to the public as the Honourable and Very Reverend William Herbert, as well as being the son of Henry Herbert, the 1st Earl of Carnarvon. He was a botanist, classical scholar, and ornithologist. To us on this blog (i.e. Ann) he is most well-known for being the father of sportswriter Henry William Herbert.

I will expand upon Mr. Herbert’s biography at a later date; however, please accept my brief snippet as an introductory piece, as I will be introducing several of his poems on my blog.

Below, you will find a charming ode to Woman, which, despite having a contradicting tone between the first and last sections of the piece, remains to be a poem of merit in its own right.

William Herbert

FAIREST and loveliest of created things,
By our great Author in the image form’d
Of his celestial glory, and design’d
To be man’s solace! Undefiled by sin
How much dost thou exceed all earthly shapes
Of beautiful, to charm the wistful eye,
Bland to the touch, or precious in the use!
His treasure of delight, while the fresh prime
Adorns his forehead with the joy of youth,
His comfort in the winter of the soul!
Chaste woman! thou art e’en a brighter gem
To him, who wears thee, than e’er shone display’d
Upon the monarch’s diadem ; a charm
More sweet to lull all sorrow, than the tint
Of spring’s young verdure in the dewy morn,
Or music’s mellow tones, which floating come
Over the water like a fairy dream!
Thou hangest, as a wreath upon his neck,
More fragrant than the rose, in thy pure garb
Of blushing gentleness. Thou art a joy
More sprightly than the lark in vernal suns
Pouring his throat to heaven, or forest call
By blithesome Dryads blown ; a faithful stay
In all the world’s mischances ; a helpmeet
For man in sickness, and decay, and death.
Thou art more precious than an only child
In weary age begotten, a clear spring
Amid the desert, an unhoped-for land
To baffled mariners, or dawn of day
To who has press’d all night a fever’d couch.
Oh, wherefore, best desired and most beloved
Of all heaven’s works, oh, wherefore wert thou made
To be our curse as well as blessing! lured
From thy first shape of innocence to become
A thing abased by guilt, and more deform’d
As thing original glory was more bright!