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Anna Jane Vardill

An Exile’s Dream

Sweet Dream! to my pillow return,
 The heart-weary wanderer cheer!
Redeem from the mouldering urn
 The treasures to Memory dear.

Methought I awoke on the hill
 Where oft in my boyhood I slept;
The leaf of the aspen was still—
 My dog to my pillow had crept.

The moon on my kindred’s abode
 Shone bright as in Midsummer’s eve,
When I sprang o’er the dew-sprinkled road,
 The kisses of peace to receive.

Joy lighted the white-column’d hall;
 Love smil’d on the steps of the door:
While Revelry woke at the call
 Of her who shall waken no more!

The woodbine hung gay o’er the thatch,
 Now sunk with the wrecks of the wave;
And I saw on the half-open’d latch
 The hand that is dust in the grave!

The corn-reapers sang on the hill
 Where now the wild wood-pigeon cries;
How blithe was the hum of the mill
 Where lonely the winter-wind sighs!

Blest land!—shall I view thee no more?
 Shall my feet never press thee again?
But Fancy thy charms shall restore,
 For me they unfaded remain.

Thy dome may be silent and cold,
 But Memory claims it her own:—
The ruin I cannot behold
 To me shall be ever unknown.

Thy groves may be leafless and shorn,
 Yet Fancy still pictures their prime;
She hears not thy foresters mourn,
 She sees not the winter of Time.

The axe of the stranger has laid
 My bow’r of lov’d eglantine low,
But Memory visits their shade—
 Still, still in her Eden they grow.

The faces I lov’d in their bloom
 All faded and furrow’d may be;
The hearts may be cold in the tomb
 That bounded in gladness with me;

But I shall not behold their decay,
 Nor tread on the turf where they sleep,
Nor see round their mould’ring clay
 The worm of the sepulchre creep.

No—still I will beckon them near,
 While through the dim valley I roam—
Their voices at midnight I hear—
 They call the poor wanderer home.

Belov’d!—ye assemble there still,
 The home of a Father ye share—
My path may be dreary and chill,
 But soon ye shall welcome me there!


The European Magazine, Vol. 78, October 1820, p. 352