Samuel Lover

The Dew-Drop: A Metrical Fantasy

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Part I

A dew-drop, once,
In a summer's night,
Was touched by the wand
Of a faithless sprite,


As the moon, in her change,
Shot a trembling ray
Down the bosky dell
Where the dew-drop lay;


And tainted with change
By the wild-wood sprite,
Was the dew-drop, till then
So pure and so bright.


For what might be pure,
If 'twere not the dew?
A gift from the skies
Earth's sweets to renew.


What may be bright
As the dew-drops are?
Kindred are they
To the evening star.


Blest is the dew
When the day's begun,
It flies to the kiss
Of the godlike sun.


Blest is the dew
At the evening hour,
Taking its rest
In some grateful flower,


That gives forth its odour,
To welcome the fall
Of the dew-drop that sinks
In the balmy thrall.


Enfolded in fragrance,
Entranc'd it lies,
Till the morning's dawn,
When it lightly flies


From the balmy lips
Of the waking flower,
Which droops through the day,
When the dew-drop's away,
And mourns the delay
Of the evening hour.


O, how the sprite-struck
Dew-drop stray'd
'Mong the wildest flow'rs
Of the wild-wood glade!


Toying with all,
She was constant to none;
Though she held her faith
To the lordly sun.


She sought a new couch
As the eve grew dim,
But at morning she ever
Returned to him.


The fond rose pined
In its hidden heart
While the dew-drop play'd
Her changeful part.


And though it was kiss'd
By some dew-drop bright,
Griev'd that it was not
The one of last night.


The leaf-shelter'd lily,
Pale "flow'r of the vale,"
The love-plaint felt
Of the nightingale;


Whose song never bore
So much meaning as now:--
O, sympathy!--subtile
In teaching art thou.


The violet (heart-like),
The sweeter for grief.
Sigh'd forth its balm
In its own relief;


While its jealous companions
Conceiv'd it blest,
And envied the pang
Of an aching breast.


Thus, eve after eve,
Did the dew-drop betray
Some leaflet that smiled
On the pendant spray;


And blossoms that sprang
From a healthful root,
Faded in grief,
And produced no fruit.


But what cared she?
Who was always caress'd,
As she sank in delight
On some fresh flower's breast.


Though it died the next night,
She could pass it, and say,
"Poor thing--'twas my love
Of yesterday."


At last, in her pride,
She so faithless got,
She even forsook
The forgot-me-not.


And Nature frown'd
On the bright coquette,
And sternly said--
"I will teach thee yet,
A lesson so hard
Thou wilt not forget!"


PART II

The roses of summer
Are past and gone,
And sweet things are dying
One by one;


But autumn is bringing,
In richer suits,
To match with his sunsets,
His glowing fruits;


And the flowers the dew-drop
Deserted now,
For the richer caress
Of the clustering bough.


So dainty a dew-drop
A leaf would not suit,
For her nothing less
Would suffice, than the fruit.


The bloom of the plum
And the nect'rine's perfume
Were deserted, in turn,
A fresh love to assume;


And, as each she gave up,
If her conscience did preach,
Her ready excuse
Was the down of the peach.


But fruits will be gathered
Ere autumn shall close;
Then, where in her pride
May the dew-drop repose?


Nor a bud, nor a flower,
Nor a leaf is there now;
They are gone whom she slighted--
There's nought but the bough.


And the dew-drop would now
Keep her mansion of air,
With her bright lord the sun,
Nor, at evening, repair


To the desolate earth;
Where no lovers remain
But grasses so humble,
And brambles so plain,


So crooked, so knotty,
So jaggèd and bare--
Indeed would the dew
Keep her mansion of air!


But Nature looked dark,
And her mandate gave,
And the autumn dew
Was her winter slave,


When the lordly sun
Had his journey sped,
Far in the south,
Towards ocean's bed;


And short was the time
That he held the sky,
His oriflamb waving
Nor long nor high;


And the dew-drop lay
In the dark cold hours,
Embraced by the weeds
That survived the flowers.


Oh! chill was her tear,
As she thought of the night
She had wept in pure joy
At her rose's delight;


While now for the morning
She sigh'd;--that its ray
Should bear her from loathsome
Embraces away.


Like a laggard it came;
And so briefly it shone,
She scarce reach'd the sky
Ere her bright lord was gone;


And downward again
Among weeds was she borne,
To linger in pain
Till her bright lord's return.


And Nature frown'd
On the bright coquette,
And again she said--
"I will teach thee yet,
A lesson so hard
Thou wilt never forget!"


Part III

Through the bare branches
Sigh'd the chill breeze,
As the sun went down
Where the leafless trees


Are darkly standing,
Like skeletons grim,
'Gainst the fading light
Of the west, grown dim;


And colder and colder
The embers decay
That were glowing red
With the fire of day,


Till darkness wrapp'd
In her mantle drear,
The withering forms
Of the dying year.


Thus bleak and black
Was the face of the world,
When Winter his silvery
Banner unfurled,


His sprites sending forth
In their glittering array,
To seize in the night
Each fantastical spray;


And the fern in the wood,
And the rush by the stream,
Were sparkling with gems
In the morning beam.


So charm'd was the stream
With the beauty around,
That it stopp'd in its course,
And it utter'd no sound;


In the silent entrancement
Of Winter's embrace,
It sought not to wander
From that charmèd place;


For better it loved
With old Winter to be,
In the di'mond-hung woods,
Than be lost in the sea.


But the dew-drop's home
Was in yon bright sky,
And when in the sunbeam
She sought to fly,


Chain'd to a weed
Was the bright frail thing,
And she might not mount
On her morning wing.


"Ha! ha!" laugh'd Nature,
"I've caught thee now;
Bride of old Winter,
Bright thing, art thou!


"Think of how many
A flower for thee,
Hath wasted its heart
In despondency.


"Now where thou'rt fetter'd
Thou must remain;
Let thy pride rejoice
In so bright a chain."


"True," said the dew-drop,
"Is all thou'st told,
My fetters are bright--
But ah, so cold!


"Rather than sparkle
In diamond chain,
I'd dwell with the humblest
Flower again;


"And never would rove
From a constant bliss,
If I might 'scape
From a fate like this;


"In glittering misery
Bid me not sleep!
Mother, oh, let me
Melt and weep!


"Weep in the breast
Of my chosen flower,
And for ever renounce
My changeful hour;


"For tho' to the skies
I shall daily spring,
At the sunrise bright,
On my rainbow wing,


"To my flower I'll return
At golden even,
With a love refresh'd
At the fount of heaven!"


The Spirit of Spring
Was listening near;
The captive dew-drop
She came to cheer!


Her fetter she broke,
And the chosen flower
Was given to the dew-drop
In happy hour.


And, true to her faith,
Did the dew-drop come,
When the honey-bee,
With his evening hum,


Was bidding farewell
To the rose, which he taught,
By his fondness, to know
'Twas with sweetness fraught.


And the rose thought the bee
Was a silly thing,
To fly from the dew
With his heavy wing;


For "Ah," sighed the rose,
As it hung on the bough,
"Bright dew-drop, there's nothing
So sweet as thou!"

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Samuel Lover