At the silence of twilight’s contemplative hour
I have mused, in a sorrowful mood,
On the wind-shaken weeds that embosom the bower
Where the home of my forefathers stood:
All ruined and wild is their roofless abode,
And lonely the dark ravens’ sheltering tree,
And travelled by few is the grass-covered road
Where the hunter of deer and the warrior trode
To his hills that encircle the sea.
Yet, wandering, I found on my ruinous walk.
By the dial-stone aged, and green,
One rose of the wilderness left on its stalk,
To mark where a garden had been;
Like a brotherless hermit, the last of its race,
And wild in the silence of Nature, it drew
From each wandering sunbeam a lonely embrace,
For the nightweed and thorn overshadowed the place
Where the flower of my forefathers grew.
Sweet bud of the wilderness, emblem of all
That remains in this desolate heart,
The fabric of bliss to its centre may fall,
But patience shall never depart,
Though the wilds of enchantment, all vernal and bright,
In the days of delusion by fancy combined.
With the vanishing phantoms of love and delight,
Abandon my soul like a dream of the night,
And leave but a desert behind.
Be hushed, my dark spirit, for Wisdom condemns
When the faint and the feeble deplore;
Be strong as the rock of the ocean that stems
A thousand wild waves on the shore.
Through the perils of chance and the scowl of disdain,
May thy front be unaltered, thy courage elate
Yea, even the name I have worshipped in vain,
Shall awake not the sigh of remembrance again,
To be is to conquer our fate.
Published in the anthology The Universal Songster, or, Museum of mirth: forming the most complete, extensive, and valuable collection of ancient and modern songs in the English language Volume 2 (London: Fairburn, 1826)