THE MYRTLE Written at West Aston. 1808.

Written at West Aston.
1808. [1] 

Yes, I remember the dear, suffering Saint
Whose hand, with fond commemorative care,
Planted that myrtle on my natal day.
It was a day of joy to him she lov'd
Best upon earth; and still her gentle heart,5
That never felt one passion's eager throb,
Nor aught but quiet joys, and patient woes,
Was prompt to sympathise with all, and most
With that beloved brother: She had hop'd
Perchance, that, fondly on his arm reclin'd10
In placid happiness, her feeble step
Might here have wander'd thro' these friendly shades,
This hospitable seat of kindred worth,
And that the plant thus rear'd, in future years,
Might win his smile benignant; when her hand15
Should point where, in its bower of loveliness,
Bright spreading to the sun its fragrant leaf,
His Mary's myrtle bloom'd. Ah me! 'tis sad
When sweet affection thus designs in vain,
And sees the fragile web it smiling spun20
For playful Love, crush'd by the sudden storm
And swept to dark oblivion, mid the wreck
Of greater hopes! Ev'n while she thought of bliss,
Already o'er that darling brother's head,
The death commission'd Angel noiseless wav'd25
His black & heavy wings: and tho' she mourn'd
That stroke, in pious sorrow, many a year,
Yet even then, the life-consuming shaft
In her chaste breast she uncomplaining bore.
Now, both at rest, in blessed peacefulness,30
With no impatient hope, regret, or doubt,
Await that full completion of the bliss
Which their more perfect spirits shall receive.
Fair blossom'd her young plant! effusing sweet
Its aromatic breath: for other eyes35
Blush'd the soft folded buds, & other hands
Pruned its luxuriant branches; friendship still
Preserv'd the fond memorial, nay even yet
Would fain preserve with careful tenderness
The blighted relic of what once it lov'd.40
Hard were the wintry hours! felt even here
Amid those green protecting walls; and late
The timid Spring, oft chill'd, and rudely check'd,
At last unveil'd her tenderest charms, and smil'd
With radiant blushes on her amorous train:45
But no reviving gale, no fruitful dew
Visits the brown, parch'd leaf, or from the stem,
The withering stem, elicits the young shoot
With hopes of life, & beauty; yet thy care,
Perhaps, dear Sidney, thine assiduous care50
May save it still. What can resist the care
Of fond assiduous love? Oh! it can raise
The shudd'ring soul that sunk beneath the black,
Suspended pall of Death! believe this lip,
Believe this grateful heart, which best can feel55
The life-restoring power of watchful Love.


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "The Myrtle Written at West Aston. 1808"is printed as "Written at West-Aston. June 1808" in Psyche, with Other Poems and under its full title in Mary. A note in Psyche, with Other Poems states "The myrtle was planted by the author's aunt Mary, at West-Aston, the seat of Thomas Acton, esq. in the county of Wicklow. The 'beloved brother' was the author's father, the Reverend William Blachford, who died after a very short illness in the meridian of life, a few months after the birth of his daughter. The myrtle was destroyed by frost in the winter of 1807, notwithstanding the care of Mrs. Acton, who is addressed in this poem by her Christian name of Sydney" (313-14). BACK