A Celebration of Women Writers

"Ulla, or the Adjuration" by Felicia Hemans (1793-1835) Records of Woman: With Other Poems. Edinburgh: William Blackwood, & London: T. Cadell, 1828, second edition. pp. 226-231.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 226] 


Yet speak to me! I have outwatch'd the stars,
And gaz'd o'er heaven in vain, in search of thee.
Speak to me! I have wander'd o'er the earth,
And never found thy likeness.–Speak to me!
This once–once more!

  "THOU'RT gone!–thou'rt slumb'ring low,
    With the sounding seas above thee;
  It is but a restless wo,
    But a haunting dream to love thee!
  Thrice the glad swan has sung,
    To greet the spring-time hours,
  Since thine oar at parting flung
    The white spray up in showers.

[Page 227] 

There's a shadow of the grave on thy hearth and round thy home;
Come to me from the ocean's dead!–thou'rt surely of them–come!"

    'Twas Ulla's voice–alone she stood
      In the Iceland summer night,
    Far gazing o'er a glassy flood,
      From a dark rock's beetling height.

  "I know thou hast thy bed
    Where the sea-weed's coil hath bound thee;
  The storm sweeps o'er thy head,
    But the depths are hush'd around thee.
  What wind shall point the way
    To the chambers where thou'rt lying?
  Come to me thence, and say
    If thou thought'st on me in dying?

[Page 228] 

I will not shrink to see thee with a bloodless lip and cheek–
Come to me from the ocean's dead!–thou'rt surely of them–speak!"

    She listen'd–'twas the wind's low moan,
      'Twas the ripple of the wave,
    'Twas the wakening osprey's cry alone,
      As it started from its cave.

  "I know each fearful spell
    Of the ancient Runic lay,
  Whose mutter'd words compel
    The tempest to obey.
  But I adjure not thee
    By magic sign or song,
  My voice shall stir the sea
    By love,–the deep, the strong!

[Page 229] 

By the might of woman's tears, by the passion of her sighs,
Come to me from the ocean's dead!–by the vows we pledg'd–arise!"

    Again she gazed with an eager glance,
      Wandering and wildly bright;–
    She saw but the sparkling waters dance
      To the arrowy northern light.

  "By the slow and struggling death
    Of hope that loath'd to part,
  By the fierce and withering breath
    Of despair on youth's high heart;
  By the weight of gloom which clings
    To the mantle of the night,
  By the heavy dawn which brings
    Nought lovely to the sight,

[Page 230] 

By all that from my weary soul thou hast wrung of grief and fear,
Come to me from the ocean's dead–awake, arise, appear!"

    Was it her yearning spirit's dream,
      Or did a pale form rise,
    And o'er the hush'd wave glide and gleam,
      With bright, still, mournful eyes?

  "Have the depths heard?–they have!
    My voice prevails–thou'rt there,
  Dim from thy watery grave,
    Oh! thou that wert so fair!
  Yet take me to thy rest!
    There dwells no fear with love;
  Let me slumber on thy breast,
    While the billow rolls above!

[Page 231] 

Where the long-lost things lie hid, where the bright ones have their home,
We will sleep among the ocean's dead–stay for me, stay!–I come!"

    There was a sullen plunge below,
      A flashing on the main,
    And the wave shut o'er that wild heart's wo,
      Shut,–and grew still again.


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom