The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

Tag: poetry

“The winds of March are humming” by Fitz-Greene Halleck

This plaintive (or is it humorous) parody of Thomas Moore’s “To Ladies’ Eyes” was written by 19th century poet and Byron scholar Fitz-Greene Halleck.

You can click here to find accompanying sheet music, originally scored for Moore’s poem. 

SONG, or The winds of March are humming
By Fitz-Greene Halleck
From Fanny: With Other Poems, pp. 111-114

Air, “To ladies eyes a round, boy.”
MOORE.

THE winds of March are humming
Their parting song, their parting song,
And summer’s skies are coming,
And days grow long, and days grow long.
I watch, but not in gladness,
Our garden tree, our garden tree;
It buds, in sober sadness,
Too soon for me, too soon for me.
My second winter’s over,
Alas! and I, alas! and I
Have no accepted lover:
Don’t ask me why, don’t ask me why.

‘Tis not asleep or idle
That love has been, that love has been;
For many a happy bridal
The year has seen, the year has seen;
I’ve done a bridemaid’s duty,
At three or four, at three or four;
My best bouquet had beauty,
Its donor more, its donor more.
My second winter’s over,
Alas! and I, alas! and I
Have no accepted lover:
Don’t ask me why, don’t ask my why.

His flowers my bosom shaded
One sunny day, one sunny day;
The next, they fled and faded,
Beau and bouquet, beau and bouquet.
In vain, at ball and parties,
I’ve thrown my net, I’ve thrown my net;
This waltzing, watching heart is
Unchosen yet, unchosen yet.
My second winter’s over,
Alas! and I, alas! and I
Have no accepted lover:
Don’t ask my why, don’t ask me why.

They tell me there’s no hurry
For Hymen’s ring, for Hymen’s ring;
And I’m too young to marry:
‘Tis no such thing, ’tis no such thing.
The next spring tides will dash on
My eighteenth year, my eighteenth year;
It puts me in a passion,
Oh dear, oh dear! oh dear, oh dear!
My second winter’s over,
Alas! and I, alas! and I
Have no accepted lover:
Don’t ask me why, don’t ask me why.

“AIR,—’S Patrick’s Day” by James Gates Percival

AIR,—‘S. Patrick’s Day.
James Gates Percival
From The Life and Letters of James Gates Percival by J. H. Ward, pp. 447-448

I.
Hail to the morning, when first he ascended,
The Jewel of Erin, the Saint and the Sage,—
O, long may the rays of his glory be blended,
In harmony clear, on the poet’s page.
Long may the sainted Patrick bless us,
Long as the flowers of Erin smile.
True-hearted Irishmen ever shall follow him,—
Ever pure prayers from warm bosoms shall hallow him,—
Praises resound through each consecrate pile;
And O, may his spirit awake to redress us,
And rescue from tyrants our sacred isle.

II.
Hark to the voice, that through Connaught resounded,
Aloft from her mountain so high and so green!
It spake,—through that gem, by the bright ocean bounded,
No venomous creature again was seen.
Roses and shamrocks filled each valley,
Green waved the oak above each hill:
Health, in each eye, sparkled clear as the fountain;
Pure was each kiss, as the dew of the mountain;
Swelled every bosom with joy, to its fill,—
But O, he forgot, with his trusty shillelagh,
To crush that foul hydra, the worm of the still.

III.
Hark to the voice, that, through Erin resounding,
Awakens the spirits of freemen again!
It calls, and the hearts of old Ireland are bounding,—
As they beat, snap the steel links of slavery’s chain!
Millions there wake to pride and glory,—
Think of their sires, the strong and free!
Millions, too, warm with a patriot’s devotion,
Send their fond wishes across the wide ocean,
Erin! O beautiful Erin! to thee;
For O, thou art rescued, and ever in story,
Thy Patrick and Matthew united shall be.

“August” by Francis Ledwidge

I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the poetry of Irish poet and soldier Francis Ledwidge as of late, so I anticipate uploading more of his work in the future. “August” is a personal favorite. Feel free to comment, I’d love your thoughts on Ledwidge. Are you already familiar with his work? Would you like to see more?

August

By Francis Ledwidge
From Songs of the Fields by Francis Ledwidge

SHE’LL come at dusky first of day,
White over yellow harvest’s song.
Upon her dewy rainbow way
She shall be beautiful and strong.
The lidless eye of noon shall spray
Tan on her ankles in the hay,
Shall kiss her brown the whole day long.

I’ll know her in the windrows, tall
Above the crickets of the hay.
I’ll know her when her odd eyes fall,
One May-blue, one November-grey.
I’ll watch her from the red barn wall
Take down her rusty scythe, and call,
And I will follow her away.

“The Passions” by Joseph Merrifield

The Passions
By Joseph Merrifield
From Godey’s Magazine, September 1853, pg. 264

MEMORY.
How sweet, how soothing the relief,
To hearts oppressed with present grief,
In Memory’s retrospect to view
Those flowery scenes that once we knew!

FRIENDSHIP.
The cord invisible that binds
In sympathy two kindred minds;
Where heart to heart responsive thrills,
Partaking mutual joys and ills.

JEALOUSY.
The keenest shaft that Envy shoots—
A thought that Candor oft refutes—
A self-inflicted wound, we feel
That woman’s smile alone can heal.

HOPE.
Through memory oft a solace brings,
Recalling past and pleasant things,
Still memory’s pleasures ne’er can cope
With life’s sweet balmy soother—HOPE.

LOVE.
If ‘mongst the passions of the heart
LOVE held not much the greater part,
What would the other passions be?
A fleet of ships without a sea!

REVENGE.
The darkest passion of the heart,
Where Rage and Hatred claim a part,
And deaf to Mercy’s pleading voice,
O’er prostrate Innocence rejoice!

DESPAIR.
The utmost depths of human woe
That mortal man can ever know—
By blighted hopes to madness driven,
He flies from earth, and forfeits heaven!

“My Mother’s Miniature” by Isa L. Jenkins

My Mother’s Miniature
By Isa L. Jenkins
From Godey’s Magazine, July, 1853, pg. 61

Faint picture, far more dear to me
Than all the treasures earth can give,
Since she, my all, hath ceased to be,
For whom it was my life to live.

Here I behold that faded cheek,
That calm, smooth brow and flowing hair,
The lips that spoke in tones so meek,
And breathed to heaven their fervent prayer.

Oh, she who ceaseless vigils kept
Above my path in faded years,
And o’er my waywardness hath wept,
Now soars beyond this vale of tears.

Yes, she who sought my heart to mould
For brighter climes and purer skies,
Now dwells where countless suns hath rolled,
Unmarked by years or centuries.

Yon moon, whose track the milky way,
Whose light still glimmers on the wave,
Through months hath cast its mellow ray
Upon her lone and dreary grave.

Thou sweet memento of the past,
A priceless treasure now thou art;
Through years to come, while life shall last,
I’ll keep and wear thee next my heart.