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The Domestic Affections

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

WHENCE are those tranquil joys, in mercy giv'n,
To light the wilderness with beams of Heav'n?
To sooth our cares, and thro' the cloud diffuse,
Their tempered sun-shine, and celestial hues?
Those pure delights, ordain'd on life to throw
Gleams of the bliss ethereal natures know?
Say, do they grace Ambition's regal throne,
When kneeling myriads call the world his own?
Or dwell with luxury, in th' enchanted bow'rs,
Where taste and wealth exert creative pow'rs?

Favor'd of Heav'n! O Genius! are they thine,
When round thy brow the wreaths of glory shine;
While rapture gazes on thy radiant way,
'Midst the bright realms of clear and mental day?

No! sacred joys! 'tis yours to dwell enshrin'd,
Most fondly cherish'd, in the purest mind;
To twine with flowers, those lov'd, endearing ties,
On earth so sweet,—so perfect in the skies!

Nurs'd on the lap of solitude and shade,
The violet smiles, embosom'd in the glade;
There sheds her spirit on the lonely gale,
Gem of seclusion! treasure of the vale!
Thus, far retir'd from life's tumultuous road,
Domestic bliss has fix'd her calm abode,
Where hallow'd innocence and sweet repose
May strew her shadowy path with many a rose:
As, when dread thunder shakes the troubled sky,
The cherub, infancy, can close its eye,
And sweetly smile, unconscious of a tear,
While viewless angels wave their pinions near;
Thus, while around the storms of discord roll,
Borne on resistless wing, from pole to pole;

While war's red lightnings desolate the ball,
And thrones and empires in destruction fall;
Then, calm as evening on the silvery wave,
When the wind slumbers in the ocean-cave,
She dwells, unruffled, in her bow'r of rest,
Her empire, home!—her throne, affection's breast!

For her, sweet nature wears her loveliest blooms,
And softer sun-shine ev'ry scene illumes.
When spring awakes the spirit of the breeze,
Whose light wing undulates the sleeping seas;
When summer, waving her creative wand,
Bids verdure smile, and glowing life expand;
Or autumn's pencil sheds, with magic trace,
O'er fading loveliness, a moon-light grace;
Oh! still for her, thro' Nature's boundless reign,
No charm is lost, no beauty blooms in vain;
While mental peace, o'er ev'ry prospect bright,
Throws mellowing tints, and harmonizing light!

Lo! borne on clouds, in rushing might sublime,
Stern winter, bursting from the polar clime,
Triumphant waves his signal-torch on high,
The blood-red meteor of the northern sky!
And high thro' darkness rears his giant-form,
His throne, the billow!—and his flag, the storm!

Yet then, when bloom and sun-shine are no more,
And the wild surges foam along the shore;
Domestic bliss! thy heaven is still serene,
Thy star, unclouded, and thy myrtle, green!
Thy fane of rest no raging storms invade,
Sweet peace is thine, the seraph of the shade!
Clear thro' the day, her light around thee glows,
And gilds the midnight of thy deep repose!
Hail, sacred home! where soft Affection's hand,
With flow'rs of Eden twines her magic band!
Where pure and bright, the social ardors rise,
Concentring all their holiest energies!

When wasting toil has dimm'd the vital flame,
And ev'ry power deserts the sinking frame;
Exhausted nature still from sleep implores
The charm that lulls, the manna that restores!
Thus, when oppress'd with rude tumultuous cares,
To thee, sweet home! the fainting mind repairs;
Still to thy breast, a wearied pilgrim, flies,
Her ark of refuge from uncertain skies!
Bower of repose! when torn from all we love,
Thro' toil we struggle, or thro' distance rove;
To thee we turn, still faithful, from afar,
Thee, our bright vista! thee, our magnet-star!
And from the martial field, the troubled sea,
Unfetter'd thought still roves to bliss and thee!

When ocean-sounds in awful slumber die,
No wave to murmur, and no gale to sigh;
Wide o'er the world, when peace and midnight reign,
And the moon trembles on the sleeping main;

At that still hour, the sailor wakes to keep,
'Midst the dead calm, the vigil of the deep!
No gleaming shores his dim horizon hound,
All heaven—and sea—and solitude—around!
Then, from the lonely deck, the silent helm,
From the wide grandeur of the shadowy realm;
Still homeward borne, his fancy unconfin'd,
Leaving the worlds of ocean far behind,
Wings like a meteor-flash her swift career,
To the lov'd scene, so distant, and so dear!
Lo! the rude whirlwind rushes from its cave,
And danger frowns—the monarch of the wave!
Lo! rocks and storms the strivin
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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…

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    "The Domestic Affections" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/13569/the-domestic-affections>.

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