The Palm Tree by Mrs. Hemans

Letter I.

It waved not through an Eastern sky,

Beside a fount of Araby;

It was not fann'd by Southern breeze

In some green isle of Indian seas;

Nor did its graceful shadow sleep

O'er stream of Afric, lone and deep.

But fair the exiled Palm-tree grew,

'Midst foliage of no kindred hue:

Through the laburnum's dropping gold

Rose the light shaft of Orient mould;

And Europe's violets, faintly sweet,

Purpled the moss-beds at its feet.

Strange look'd it there!--the willow stream'd

Where silv'ry waters near it gleam'd;

The lime-bough lured the honey-bee

To murmur by the Desert's tree,

And showers of snowy roses made

A lustre in its fan-like shade.

There came an eve of festal hours—

Rich music fill'd that garden's bowers;

Lamps, that from flow'ring branches hung,

On sparks of dew soft colours flung;

And bright forms glanced—a fairy show,

Under the blossoms to and fro.

But one, a lone one, 'midst the throng,

Seem'd reckless all of dance or song:

He was a youth of dusky mien,

Whereon the Indian sun had been;

Of crested brow, and long black hair—

A stranger, like the Palm-tree, there.

And slowly, sadly, moved his plumes,

Glittering athwart the leafy glooms:

He pass'd the pale green olives by,

Nor won the chesnut flowers his eye;

But when to that sole Palm he came,

Then shot a rapture through his frame.

To him, to him its rustling spoke;

The silence of his soul it broke.

It whisper'd of his own bright isle,

That lit the ocean with a smile.

Aye to his ear that native tone

Had something of the sea-wave's moan.

His mother's cabin-home, that lay

Where feathery cocoos fringe the bay;

The dashing of his brethren's oar,

The conch-note heard along the shore—

All through his wak'ning bosom swept:

He clasp'd his country's tree, and wept.

Oh! scorn him not. The strength whereby

The patriot girds himself to die;

The unconquerable power which fills

The foeman battling on his hills:

These have one fountain deep and clear,

The same whence gush'd that child-like tear!—

Mrs. Hemans.