Regret For The Departure Of Friends

George Moses Horton 1779 (North Carolina) – 1883

As smoke from a volcano soars in the air,
The soul of man discontent mounts from a sigh,
Exhaled as to heaven in mystical prayer,
Invoking that love which forbids him to die.

Sweet hope, lovely passion, my grief ever chase,
And scatter the gloom which veils pleasure's bright ray,
O lend me thy wings, and assist me to trace
The flight of my fair one when gone far away.

When the dim star of pleasure sets glimmering alone,
The planet of beauty on life's dreary shore,
And th' fair bird of fancy forever is flown,
On pinions of haste to be heard of no more.

Hope, tell me, dear passion, thou wilt not forget,
To flourish still sweetly and blossom as gay,
Expelling like morning the gloom of regret,
When the lark of affection is gone far away.

If hurried into some unchangeable clime,
Where oceans of pleasure continually roll,
Far, far from the limited borders of time,
With a total division of body and soul.

Hope, tell me, dear passion, which must earth survive,
That love will be sweeter when nature is o'er,
And still without pain though eternity live,
In the triumph of pleasure when time is no more.

O love, when the day-light of pleasure shall close,
Let the vesper of death break on life's dusky even;
Let the faint sun of time set in peace as it rose,
And eternity open thy morning in heaven.

Then hope, lovely passion, thy torch shall expire,
Effusing on nature life's last feeble ray;
While the night maid of love sets her taper on fire,
To guard smiling beauty from time far away.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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George Moses Horton

George Moses Horton was an African-American poet and the first African American poet to be published in the Southern United States. His book was published in 1828 while he was still a slave; he remained a slave until he was emancipated late in the Civil War. more…

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