A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Sunbeam" by Felicia Hemans (1793-1835) Records of Woman: With Other Poems. Edinburgh: William Blackwood, & London: T. Cadell, 1828, second edition. pp. 280-282.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


[Page 280] 

THE SUNBEAM.


THOU art no lingerer in monarch's hall,
A joy thou art, and a wealth to all!
A bearer of hope unto land and sea:–
Sunbeam! what gift hath the world like thee?

Thou art walking the billows, and ocean smiles;
Thou hast touch'd with glory his thousand isles;
Thou hast lit up the ships, and the feathery foam,
And gladden'd the sailor, like words from home.

To the solemn depths of the forest shades,
Thou art streaming on thro' their green arcades,
And the quivering leaves that have caught thy glow,
Like fire-flies glance to the pools below.

[Page 281] 

I look'd on the mountains,–a vapour lay
Folding their heights in its dark array:
Thou brakest forth,–and the mist became
A crown and a mantle of living flame.

I look'd on the peasant's lowly cot,–
Something of sadness had wrapt the spot;–
But a gleam of thee on its lattice fell,
And it laugh'd into beauty at that bright spell.

To the earth's wild places a guest thou art,
Flushing the waste like the rose's heart;
And thou scornest not from thy pomp to shed
A tender smile on the ruin's head.

Thou tak'st thro' the dim church-aisle thy way,
And its pillars from twilight flash forth to day,
And its high, pale tombs, with their trophies old,
Are bath'd in a flood as of molten gold.

[Page 282] 

And thou turnest not from the humblest grave,
Where a flower to the sighing winds may wave;
Thou scatterest its gloom like the dreams of rest,
Thou sleepest in love on its grassy breast.

Sunbeam of summer! oh! what is like thee?
Hope of the wilderness, joy of the sea!–
One thing is like thee to mortals given,
The faith touching all things with hues of Heaven!

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom