Port Talbot Poems in the Montreal Scribbler

By Adam Hood Burwell



                   To thee, my fair, of flowers, of Spring,
                   Of grassy meads, of birds that sing
                   Thro’ choral groves in dulcet lay
                   That charms the listening ear of May,
                   Of Flora’s jocund self who reigns


                   The blithesome empress of the plains,
                   Of incense—breathing gales among
                   The solemn whispering pines, I’ve sung;
                   Now turn I from the vernal scene,
                   To find those charms in thee, my queen,


                   Of mind within, or outward grace,
                   And shew how many more there be
                   Than spring can boast, all met in thee.
                   First in thy clear cerulean eye,
                   I see a bright unclouded sky,


                   That passion dare not e’en deform
                   With sullen, dark, unlovely storm
                   To dim those beacons of the mind
                   Which heaven, in wisdom, hath design’d
                   To speak a language that is known


                   And read by sympathy alone, —
                   I see the Sun; my feeble gaze
                   O’erpower’d by his ardent blaze;
                   I see thine eyes; — ’tis mild and clear; —
                   Intelligence sits beaming there,


                   In rays how sweet! — The inmost soul
                   Directs it by her own controul
                   With pity gentle, kind to melt,
                   To shoot emotion when ’tis felt,
                   To glow with Love’s peculiar fire,


                   Pure and unmix’d with loose desire; —
                   To check with chaste severity
                   The gaze of lewdness, wanton, free; —
                   To plead in eloquence of grief; [Page 31]
                   To gush in tear to give relief


                   To woes within; —to kindle bright
                   When joy resumes its clouded light
                   T’inform those little sprites that go
                   On tell-tale errands to and fro,
                   What to deposit in the cells


                   Where tenant soul — where Reason dwells;
                   Where Fancy fans its vivid fire;
                   Where blushes hide and sighs retire;
                   Where latent frowns, forbidding, lie
                   The dart displeasure when they fly;


                   Whence smiles proceed that light the face
                   With every dear, enchanting grace;
                   Where Mirth reposes, and where fear
                   Stands tiptoe, with distended ear;
                   Where Sympathy on downy bed,


                   Sensation all, reclines her head;
                   Where Love, the urchin, lurks when he
                   Presumes with passion to make free;
                   Where conscience sits with lifted scale,
                   Admitting self to frequent bail;


                   Where every tie that binds the heart
                   Lies ready, watching when to start.
                   -Yes! —thus it is —yet how, or why
                   ’Tis as I’ve told it, know no I —
                   But this I know — it warms my heart


                   When those intelligences dart,
                   And thro’ the soul’s bright heralds shine,
                   To interchange themselves with mine.
                   I see —am seen — I know —am known —
                   I feel what soul can feel alone,


                   What soul alone to soul can tell,
                   ’Tis no deceit — I know it well,
                   For oft I’ve felt its magic spell.
                   Then, since thine eye its uses lends
                   To serve so many noble ends,


                   Should I not think it the first feature
                   Kind heaven hath given a lovely creature,
                   And in it beauties ten to one
                   See more than in the brightest sun?
                   And who’s the sceptic that denies


                   The magic force of brilliant eyes,
                   That from beneath their arches fair
                   All that is intellect declare? [Page 32]
                   In every feature of thy face
                   Beauty and symmetry I trace;


                   Proportion, air, attemper’d meetly,
                   With colour, colour blended sweetly,
                   Which stand attentive handmaids by
                   To lend their aid to mistress eye.
                   No yellow tassels that adorn


                   The virgin ears of Indian corn,
                   Nor vernal foliage may compare,
                   My Stella, with thine auburn hair,
                   That hangs its tresses round thy face,
                   Waving with undulating grace,


                   And downwards rolls itself to deck
                   Thy shoulders fine and ivory neck,
                   And e’en in playful curl descends,
                   And touches with its crispy ends
                   The twin protuberances that rest


                   Their bases on the swelling chest.
                   The rose that dewy nectar sips,
                   Or is it with vermillion bright
                   Ting’d so as more to charm the sight
                   Than the fair flowers of either cheek,


                   That bloom, and blush —nay almost speak?
                   Or is it the lilly’s white exprest
                   Better than on thy snowy breast?
                   Or would the leaf its texture dare
                   At all with thy soft skin compare?


                   Or could the vocal sounding grove
                   With Stella vie in notes of love,
                   Or give to the delighted ear
                   Those strains ’tis rapture e’en to hear?
                   Or is the perfume-bearing gale


                   That revels in the flowery vale,
                   More fragrant than thy balmy breath?
                   Or are less beautiful thy teeth
                   Than pearly drops of dewy morn
                   That glitter on the leafy thorn?


                   Or would soft pity’s gentle tear
                   Less than a drop from heaven appear. [Page 33]
                   Or should the arms of yonder pine
                   Come in comparison with thine,
                   That move, obedient to the will,


                   Or by like agency are still?
                   Or is there anything that stands
                   A rival match for thy fair hands,
                   Which in soft flexible points divide,
                   Where nicest nerves of touch reside,


                   That, or for beauty, or for use,
                   Their equals e’er we can produce?
                   O no! these, everything combined,
                   And more than these, in thee I find.
                   Within the mansion of thy breast


                   The virtues love to build their nest.
                   There Friendship sits and waits to know
                   On whom her treasures to bestow;
                   There sits Compassion with her brief,
                   And kindly notes the sons of grief.


                   In short, the heavenly train of sweet
                   Affections in that mansion meet,
                   That render woman dearer than 
                   All things besides to lordly man;
                   That give her more than strength to bind


                   The stubborn, uncongenial mind,
                   And fix dominion in his soul
                   By soft persuasive, mild controul,
                   As by some influence from above
                   Midst whom, the queen of passions, Love,


                   Directs their energies, and tries
                   What force in all collected lies,
                   Those nourishers that life impart,
                   Drawn from the fountain of the heart.
                   In dulcet rills, I there behold


                   Fashioned in beauty’s finest mould,
                   In which, methinks, I can’t but trace
                   Peculiar elegance and grace,
                   To which th’ all-wise, eternal mind
                   The principle of life hath join’d.


                   Now when I turn my thoughts and see
                   What and how much I find in thee;
                   That thou art not a fancied elf,
                   But flesh and blood e’en like myself,
                   Made by the same Creator, good,


                   Of the same substance, and endued
                   With passions, hopes, and fears the same;
                   With like affections, stature, frame;
                   With reasonable soul that’s sure [Page 34]
                   To live while old time shall endure;


                   With powers to reproduce and give
                   Like brings on like terms to live;
                   That thou canst move, and think, and tell
                   What joys thy raptured bosom swell;
                   What pains disturb thy throbbing breast


                   When by disease or grief opprest;
                   That by the lightning of thine eye
                   The soul itself I can descry;
                   That I can hear, see, feel and know
                   These things are absolutely so;


                   I’m lost in wonder, and adore
                   Th’ all-good, all-wise, almighty power
                   That made us beings as we are,
                   And guards us by his kindest care.
                   I see my softened counter-part;


                   I own her dear unto my heart
                   And dear as life my bosom knows,
                   And lovely Stella seems to me
                   All that created thing can be.


Port Talbot, U.C. March 1822 [Page 35]


* This poem appeared in The Scribbler (Montreal), I, 330-333 (4 April, 1822). [back]