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The Effigies

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

Warrior! whose image on thy tomb,
With shield and crested head,
Sleeps proudly in the purple gloom
By the stain'd window shed;
The records of thy name and race
Have faded from the stone,
Yet, through a cloud of years, I trace
What thou hast been and done.

A banner, from its flashing spear,
Flung out o'er many a fight;
A war-cry ringing far and clear,
And strong to turn the flight;
An arm that bravely bore the lance
On for the holy shrine;
A haughty heart and a kingly glance–
Chief! were not these things thine?

A lofty place where leaders sate
Around the council-board;
In festive halls a chair of state
When the blood-red wine was pour'd;
A name that drew a prouder tone
From herald, harp, and bard;–
Surely these things were all thine own,–
So hadst thou thy reward.

Woman! whose sculptur'd form at rest
By the armed knight is laid,
With meek hands folded o'er a breast
In matron robes array'd;
What was thy tale?–Oh! gentle mate
Of him, the bold and free,
Bound unto his victorious fate,
What bard hath sung of thee?

He woo'd a bright and burning star–
Thine was the void, the gloom,
The straining eye that follow'd far
His fast-receding plume;
The heart-sick listening while his steed
Sent echoes on the breeze;
The pang–but when did Fame take heed
Of griefs obscure as these?

Thy silent and secluded hours
Thro' many a lonely day,
While bending o'er thy broider'd flowers,
With spirit far away;
Thy weeping midnight prayers for him
Who fought on Syrian plains,
Thy watchings till the torch grew dim–
These fill no minstrel strains.

A still, sad life was thine!–long years
With tasks unguerdon'd fraught,
Deep, quiet love, submissive tears,
Vigils of anxious thought;
Prayer at the cross in fervour pour'd,
Alms to the pilgrim given–
Oh! happy, happier than thy lord,
In that lone path to heaven!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:41 min read
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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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    "The Effigies" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/13570/the-effigies>.

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