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Stanzas to the Memory of George the Third

Felicia Dorothea Hemans 1793 (Liverpool, Lancashire) – 1835 (Dublin, County Dublin)

'Among many nations was there no King like him.' -Nehemiah, xiii, 26.
'Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?' - 2 Samuel, iii, 38.
ANOTHER warning sound! the funeral bell,
  Startling the cities of the isle once more
With measured tones of melanchoIy swell,
  Strikes on the awakened heart from shore to shore.
He at whose coming monarchs sink to dust,
  The chambers of our palaces hath trod,
And the long-suffering spirit of the just,
  Pure from its ruins, hath return'd to God!
Yet may not England o'er her Father weep:
Thoughts to her bosom crowd, too many, and too deep.

Vain voice of Reason, hush!-they yet must flow,
  The unrestrained, involuntary tears;
A thousand feelings sanctify the woe,
  Roused by the glorious shades of vanished years.
Tell us no more 'tis not the time for grief,
  Now that the exile of the soul is past,
And Death, blest messenger of Heaven's relief,
  Hath borne the wanderer to his rest at last;
For him, eternity hath tenfold day,
We feel, we know, 'tis thus-yet nature will have way.

What though amidst us, like a blasted oak,
  Saddening the scene where once it nobly reign'd,
A dread memorial of the lightning stroke,
  Stamp'd with its fiery record, he remain'd;
Around that shatter'd tree still fondly clung
  The undying tendrils of our love, which drew
Fresh nature from its deep decay, and sprung
  Luxuriant thence, to Glory's ruin true;
While England hung her trophies on the stem,
That desolately stood, unconscious e'en of THEM.

Of them unconscious! Oh mysterious doom!
  Who shall unfold the counsels of the skies?
His was the voice which roused, as from the tomb,
  The realm's high soul to loftiest energies!
His was the spirit, o'er the isles which threw
  The mantle of its fortitude; and wrought
In every bosom, powerful to renew
  Each dying spark of pure and generous thought;
The star of tempests! beaming on the mast, {1}
The seaman's torch of Hope, 'midst perils deepening fast.

Then from the unslumbering influence of his worth,
  Strength, as of inspiration, fill'd the land;
A young, but quenchless, flame went brightly forth,
  Kindled by him-who saw it not expand!
Such was the will of heaven-the gifted seer,
  Who with his God had communed, face to face
And from the house of bondage, and of fear,
  In faith victorious, led the chosen race;
He through the desert and the waste their guide,
Saw dimly from afar, the promised land-and died.

O full of days and virtues! on thy head
  Centred the woes of many a bitter lot;
Fathers have sorrow'd o'er their beauteous dead,
  Eyes, quench'd in night, the sunbeam have forgot;
Minds have striven buoyantly with evil years,
  And sunk beneath their gathering weight at length;
But Pain for thee had fill'd a cup of tears,
  Where every anguish mingled all its strength;
By thy lost child we saw thee weeping stand,
And shadows deep around fell from the Eternal's hand.

Then came the noon of glory, which thy dreams
  Perchance of yore had faintly prophesied;
But what to thee the splendour of its beams?
  The ice-rock glows not 'midst the summer's pride!
Nations leap'd up to joy-as streams that burst,
  At the warm touch of spring, their frozen chain,
And o'er the plains, whose verdure once they nursed,
  Roll in exulting melody again;
And bright o'er earth the long majestic line
Of England's triumphs swept, to rouse all hearts-but thine.

Oh! what a dazzling vision, by the veil
  That o'er thy spirit hung, was shut from thee,
When sceptred chieftains throng'd with palms to hail
  The crowning isle, the anointed of the sea!
Within thy palaces the lords of earth
  Met to rejoice-rich pageants glitter'd by,
And stately revels imaged, in their mirth,
  The old magnificence of chivalry.
They reach'd not thee-amidst them, yet alone,
Stillness and gloom begirt one dim and shadowy throne.

Yet there was mercy still-if joy no more
  Within that blasted circle might intrude,
Earth had no grief whose footstep might pass o'er
  The silent limits of its solitude !
If all unheard the bridal song awoke
  Our hearts' full echoes, as it swell'd on high;
Alike unheard the sudden dirge, that broke
  On the glad strain, with dread solemnity!
If the land's rose unheeded wore its bloom,
Alike unfelt the storm that swept it to the tomb.

And she, who, tried through all the stormy past,
  Severely, deeply proved, in many an hour,
Watch'd o'er thee, firm and faithful to the last,
  Sustain'd inspired, by strong
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Felicia Dorothea Hemans

Felicia Dorothea Hemans was an English poet. Two of her opening lines, "The boy stood on the burning deck" and "The stately homes of England", have acquired classic status. more…

All Felicia Dorothea Hemans poems | Felicia Dorothea Hemans Books

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