By Edward Coate Pinkney
(1802 - 1828)
 
 
A Health
 
 
I FILL this cup to one made up
  Of loveliness alone,
A woman, of her gentle sex
  The seeming paragon;
To whom the better elements
  And kindly stars have given
A form so fair, that, like the air,
  ’T is less of earth than heaven.
 
Her every tone is music’s own,
  Like those of morning birds,
And something more than melody
  Dwells ever in her words;
The coinage of her heart are they,
  And from her lips each flows
As one may see the burdened bee
  Forth issue from the rose.
 
Affections are as thoughts to her,
  The measures of her hours;
Her feelings have the fragrancy,
  The freshness of young flowers;
And lovely passions, changing oft,
  So fill her, she appears
The image of themselves by turns,—
  The idol of past years!
 
Of her bright face one glance will trace
  A picture on the brain,
And of her voice in echoing hearts
  A sound must long remain;
But memory, such as mine of her,
  So very much endears,
When death is nigh my latest sigh
  Will not be life’s, but hers.
 
I fill this cup to one made up
  Of loveliness alone,
A woman, of her gentle sex
  The seeming paragon—
Her health! and would on earth there stood
  Some more of such a frame,
That life might be all poetry,
  And weariness a name.
 
 
A Serenade
 
 
LOOK out upon the stars, my love,
  And shame them with thine eyes,
On which, than on the lights above,
  There hang more destinies.
Night’s beauty is the harmony
  Of blending shades and light;
Then, lady, up,—look out, and be
  A sister to the night!
 
Sleep not! thine image wakes for aye
  Within my watching breast:
Sleep not! from her soft sleep should fly
  Who robs all hearts of rest.
Nay, lady, from thy slumbers break,
  And make this darkness gay
With looks, whose brightness well might make
  Of darker nights a day.
 
 
Song
 
 
WE break the glass, whose sacred wine
  To some beloved health we drain,
Lest future pledges, less divine,
  Should e’er the hallowed toy profane;
And thus I broke a heart that poured
  Its tide of feelings out for thee,
In draught, by after-times deplored,
  Yet dear to memory.
 
But still the old, impassioned ways
  And habits of my mind remain,
And still unhappy light displays
  Thine image chambered in my brain,
And still it looks as when the hours
  Went by like flights of singing birds,
Or that soft chain of spoken flowers
  And airy gems,—thy words.
 
 
Votive Song
 
 
I BURN no incense, hang no wreath,
  On this thine early tomb:
Such cannot cheer the place of death,
  But only mock its gloom.
Here odorous smoke and breathing flower
  No grateful influence shed;
They lose their perfume and their power,
  When offered to the dead.
 
And if, as is the Afghaun’s creed,
  The spirit may return,
A disembodied sense to feed,
  On fragrance, near its urn,—
It is enough that she, whom thou
  Didst love in living years,
Sits desolate beside it now,
  And fall these heavy tears.
 
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