To Miss Harriot Pinckney
To Miss Harriot Pinckney,
Changed, changed our hopes, our dreams, our lives;
What record of the Past survives
In the fierce whirlwind, which has brought
Strong youth and feeble age to nought?
Our homes of beauty and of pride*
Lie blackened ruins far and wide;
And with swift steps, on every hand
Terror and death stalk through the land.
A sadden’d household: far are we
From that fair home beside the sea,
Where we were wont to hail this time
Thy natal day, with flowers and rhyme!
The voice is still, that charmed thine ear
With welcome, each revolving year,
And dark those eyes, whose lovely light
Long made our home a spot so bright.†
And can we wish thee joy and calm
Whose hearts have equal need of balm?
Not e’en this day can win a strain
Untouched with gloom, unfraught with pain.
Oh! that the great benignant Power
Would lift me to some lofty tower,
Some hill of faith with summit clear,
Above this murky atmosphere,
From whence I might the Future see,
And all the blessings yet to be:
Might see upon our country’s brow
A crown, not all of thorns, as now;
Might gather up, as in a wreath,
Each noble deed which conquer’d Death:
And show them in the golden sun
Of Peace and Fame that shall be won.
Right bravely hast thou borne thy part—
Hope on—Trust on—true patriot heart.