A Relic of Waterloo *
Farewell!—the blow that ends the strife
Dooms but a ruin to decay—
One—but one link of less than life
Remains to end in nameless clay.
Let him who treads the death-field, spare
This relic lov’d too late and long—
Ah!—leave it in my dust to share
The home a miser dare not wrong.
And if to greet thy proud return
My father lifts his hoary head,
He will not start nor shrink to learn
How low I rest in Honour’s bed.
But shun the deep blue melting eye
That fondly looks and glistens near;
Nor tell what lonely sepulchre
Thy pity gave the Cuirassier.
My mother!—Fancy’s earliest flow’r
Was by thy tender fost’ring nurst;
Thine was my noon tide’s brightest hour,
And thine the thought that warm’d it first—
Receive the last!—thy glory’s stem
Has fallen, and its pride is past;
But thou wilt treasure as a gem
The blighted leaf that linger’d last.
Thou wast the eyelid of my soul,
Preserver of its purest sense;
And once beneath thy bland controul
It slept in holy innocence.
Oft to the brink of ruin’s flood
Thou cam’st a wand’rer to arrest;
And smiling in thy bounty shew’d
The softness of the matron’s breast.
Then by thy mild—thy pleading look,
Light of my erring life!—I vow’d
To write my name in Glory’s book,
Or moulder in an early shroud.
The flow’rs of revelry and wit
Have left this hollow bosom bare;
But one long-hid remembrance yet
Lives like the dark soft violet there.
There is an eye that will not mock
The ruin in this breast unseen—
The chasm in the shatter’d rock
Tells where a diamond mine has been.
’Twas plunder’d!—but enough is left
A lightning spark from Heav’n to win—
Its thunderbolt has struck the cleft,
But woke the glorious flame within!—