The Materialistic Maiden

Where I sip coffee and tirelessly transcribe.

Category: poetry

“Dithyrambic” by James Gates Percival

From his 1823 volume of Poems, Percival’s “Dithyrambic” proves to be an excellent ode to Dionysus, Greek god of wine.

James Gates Percival

FILL the cup for me,
Fill the cup of pleasure;
Wake the fairy lyre
To its wildest measure.
Melancholy’s gloom
Now is stealing on me.
But the cup and lyre
Can chase the demon from me.

Fill the cup for me,
Fill the cup of pleasure;
Wake the fairy lyre
To its wildest measure.

In the shades of night,
When every eye is closing,
On the moonlight bank
All in peace reposing,
There is nought so sweet,
As the cup of pleasure,
And the lyre that breathes
In its wildest measure.

Fill the cup, &c.

This is the smiling star,
That guides me o’er life’s ocean,
This the heavenly light,
That wakes my heart’s devotion:
‘T is when Beauty’s smile
Gives the cup of pleasure,
And awakes the lyre
To its wildest measure.

Fill the cup, &c.

If the fiend of sorrow
With his gloom affright thee,
There may come to-morrow
One who will delight thee:
‘Tis the fair, whose smile
Beams with sweetest pleasure,
And whose hand awakes
The lyre’s delightful measure.

Fill the cup, &c.

Form of Beauty! bind
Pleasure’s wreath of roses
Round this brow of mine,
Where every joy reposes:
Yes—my heart can bound
To mirth’s enlivening measure,
When the lyre is tuned,
And smiles the cup of Pleasure.

Fill the cup, &c.

Drive dull Care away—
Why should gloom depress thee?
Life may frown to-day,
But Joy will soon caress thee.
While there’s time, my friend,
Drink the cup of Pleasure,
And awake the lyre
To its wildest measure.

Fill the cup for me,
Fill the cup of Pleasure,
Wake the fairy lyre
To its wildest measure.


“The Poet’s Home” by John Sterling

The Poet’s Home
John Sterling
From The Poetical Works of John Sterling, 1842

IN the cavern’s lonely hall,
By the mighty waterfall,
Lives a spirit shy and still,
Whom the soften’d murmurs thrill,
Heard within the twilight nook,
Like the music of a brook.

Poet ! thus sequester’d dwell,
In they fancy’s haunted cell,
That the floods abroad may be
Like a voice of peace to thee,
While thou giv’st to nature’s tone
Soul and sweetness all thy own.

Hear, but, ah ! intrust thee not
To the waves beyond thy grot,
Lest thy low and wizard strain
Warble through the storm in vain,
And thy dying songs deplore
Thou must see thy cave no more.

“‘Far Away'” by Charles Fenno Hoffman

This poem has touched my heart for some years now. Whether Hoffman’s song was merely in imitation of the original 1833 piece published by Tom Rice, or inspired by George P. Morris’ own version, composed by Charles Edward Horn and published in 1839,* he has set his version apart in such a lyrically refreshing, original way that it stands on its own exceptionally well.

If you would like to hear this beautiful poem come to life, pair the lyrics with these outstanding covers I have found of the original and feel free to follow along,

Link One
Link Two

*Note: The title of the reworked version by Morris and Horn is “Near the Lake where drooped the Willow.” You can view the sheet music for their version here.

“Far Away”
Air—”Long time ago.”
Charles Fenno Hoffman

THE song—the song that once could move me
In life’s glad day—
The song of her who used to love me
Far—far away—
It makes my sad heart, fonder—fonder—
Wildly obey
The spell that wins each thought to wander
Far—far away !

Once more upon my native river
The moonbeams play,
Once more the ripples shine as ever
Far—far away—
But ah, the friends who smiled around me,
Where—where are they !
Where the sweet spell, that early bound me,
Far—far way ?

I think of all that hope once taught me—
Too bright to stay—
Of all that music fain had brought me,
Far—far away !
And weep to feel there’s no returning
Of that glad day,
Ere all that brightened life’s fresh morning
Was far—far away.


“Chansonnette” by Charles Fenno Hoffman

(From The Poems of Charles Fenno Hoffman, 1873.)

Charles Fenno Hoffman

IT haunts me yet ! that early dream
Of first fond Love ;
Like the ice that floats in a summer stream
From frozen fount above,
Through my river of life ’twill drifting gleam,
Wherever its waves may flow ;
Flashing athwart each sunny hour
With a strangely bright but chilling power,
Ever and ever to mock their tide
With its illusive glow ;
A fragment of hopes that were petrified
Long—long ago !


“The Streamlet” by Charles Fenno Hoffman

Hoffman’s “The Streamlet” is a refreshing quatrain, one which is compact with bright imagery and languid movement. The core of his message focuses on likening the course of life to a streamlet—ever-flowing and carrying us on through the trials of life unto death, where we may thus perpetually glide on. Albeit simple in nature, this poem succinctly encapsulates Hoffman’s message in a refreshing way through his imagery, as forementioned, thus, in our opinion, making it a delightful read.

The Streamlet.
Charles Fenno Hoffman

HOW silently yon streamlet slides
From out the twilight-shaded bowers !
How, soft as sleep, it onward glides
In sunshine through its dreaming flowers.

That tranquil wave, now turn’d to gold
Beneath the slowly westering sun,
It is the same, far on the wold,
Whose foam this morn we gazed upon.

The leaden sky, the barren waste,
The torrent we this morning knew,
How changed are all ! as now we haste
To bid them, with the day, adieu !

Ah ! thus should life and love at last
Grow bright and sweet when death is near :
May we, our course of trial pass’d,
Thus bathed in beauty glide from here !


“Woman” by William Herbert

Mr. Herbert was commonly known to the public as the Honourable and Very Reverend William Herbert, as well as being the son of Henry Herbert, the 1st Earl of Carnarvon. He was a botanist, classical scholar, and ornithologist. To us on this blog (i.e. Ann) he is most well-known for being the father of sportswriter Henry William Herbert.

I will expand upon Mr. Herbert’s biography at a later date; however, please accept my brief snippet as an introductory piece, as I will be introducing several of his poems on my blog.

Below, you will find a charming ode to Woman, which, despite having a contradicting tone between the first and last sections of the piece, remains to be a poem of merit in its own right.

William Herbert

FAIREST and loveliest of created things,
By our great Author in the image form’d
Of his celestial glory, and design’d
To be man’s solace! Undefiled by sin
How much dost thou exceed all earthly shapes
Of beautiful, to charm the wistful eye,
Bland to the touch, or precious in the use!
His treasure of delight, while the fresh prime
Adorns his forehead with the joy of youth,
His comfort in the winter of the soul!
Chaste woman! thou art e’en a brighter gem
To him, who wears thee, than e’er shone display’d
Upon the monarch’s diadem ; a charm
More sweet to lull all sorrow, than the tint
Of spring’s young verdure in the dewy morn,
Or music’s mellow tones, which floating come
Over the water like a fairy dream!
Thou hangest, as a wreath upon his neck,
More fragrant than the rose, in thy pure garb
Of blushing gentleness. Thou art a joy
More sprightly than the lark in vernal suns
Pouring his throat to heaven, or forest call
By blithesome Dryads blown ; a faithful stay
In all the world’s mischances ; a helpmeet
For man in sickness, and decay, and death.
Thou art more precious than an only child
In weary age begotten, a clear spring
Amid the desert, an unhoped-for land
To baffled mariners, or dawn of day
To who has press’d all night a fever’d couch.
Oh, wherefore, best desired and most beloved
Of all heaven’s works, oh, wherefore wert thou made
To be our curse as well as blessing! lured
From thy first shape of innocence to become
A thing abased by guilt, and more deform’d
As thing original glory was more bright!


“Cupid and the Rose” from the New-York Mirror

Cupid and the Rose
April 21, 1838
New-York Mirror

WHITHER, lonely boy of love,
Art thou wandering like a dove,
Seeking in each grove and dell
Some fair form on which to dwell?
Hither his and fondly sip
A parting dew-drop from my lip,
Lingering in my morning cup,
Ere saucy Phoebus drink it up.

Too thirsty me!—this dew of thine,
Sweet rose, is most delicious wine;
So sparkling ripe, so freely given,
Vintage of morning’s rosy heaven.
Ah, me! would such but flow for ever,
I’d leave thee—Leave thee, love? Oh, never!
As it is, the vessel’s empty—
I’m off—good-by—I’ve had a plenty.*

*Also published in Bentley’s Miscellany, Volumes 1 and 3, signed with an “F” in Volume 3.

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The Materialistic Maiden

Where I sip coffee and tirelessly transcribe.

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