Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Lament
By John Rudolph Sutermeister
GIVE not to me the wreath of green—
The blooming vase of flowers;—
They breathe of joy that once hath been;—
Of gone and faded hours!—
I cannot love the rose, though rich—        5
Its beauty will not last;—
Give me, give me the bloom, o’er which
The early blight hath pass’d;
The yellow buds—give them to rest,
On my cold brow and joyless breast,        10
Where life is failing fast!
Take far from me the wine-cup bright,
In hours of revelry;
It suits glad brows, and bosoms light—
It is not meet for me;        15
Oh, I can pledge the heart no more
I pledged in days gone by;
Sorrow hath touch’d my bosom’s core,
And I am left to die;
Give me to drink of Lethe’s wave—        20
Give me the lone and silent grave,
O’er which the night-winds sigh!
Wake not, upon my tuneless ear
Soft music’s stealing strain;
It cannot soothe—it cannot cheer        25
My anguish’d heart again:
But place the Æolian harp upon
The tomb of her, I love;—
There, when heaven shrouds the dying sun,
My weary steps will rove,        30
As o’er its chords night pours its breath,
To list the serenade of death,
Her silent bourne above!
Give me to seek the lonely tomb,
Where sleeps the sainted dead,        35
Now the pale nightfall throws its gloom
Above the narrow bed;
There, while the winds which sweep along,
O’er the harp-strings are driven,
And the funereal soul of song        40
Upon the air is given;
Oh let my faint and parting breath
Be mingled with that song of death,
And flee with it to heaven!

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