Poems and Essays

by Joseph Howe



    To the Campanian Lady, who, after making an ostentatious display of her jewels, expressed a wish to see those of the Roman matron.

Oh! precious are the brilliant things
    That in earth’s peaceful bosom lie,
And bright the beams the Diamond flings,
    In radiant lustre on the eye. [Page 154]

Rich are the Ruby’s dazzling gleams,
    And pure the Pearl’s unfading ray,
And mellow are the golden beams
    That round the costly Topaz play.

There’s light in many a sparkling gem,
    And wealth in many a precious stone,
But let them deck the diadem,
    And blaze around the monarch’s throne.

Cornelia never casts a thought
    On baubles valueless as these,
Such gems by Monarch ne’er were bought
    As nightly deck Cornelia’s knees.

Elastic forms, bright eyes of flame,
    And souls lit up by Nature’s fire,
Which point the glowing path to fame
    And still to glory’s meed aspire.

Hearts that through battle, toil or death,
    In virtue’s cause would nobly stand,
And proudly yield their latest breath
    To guard their own, their native land.

Such are the gems Cornelia owns,
    From such she claims her dearest joys,
For what are all earth’s precious stones,
    Compared with these—my Boys—my Boys?

1827. [Page 155]