Monday, October 03, 2011

Tyler as Poet

I found this site that talks about presidents as poets. Here is one of John Tyler's poems to his new young love, Julia! She actually passed many of these around to her family while they were courting.

Shall I again that Harp unstring,
Which long hath been a useless thing,
Unheard in Lady's bower?
Its notes were once full wild and free,
When I, to one as fair as thee,
Did sing in youth's bright hours.
Like to those raven tresses, gay,
Which o'er thy ivory shoulder's play,
Were those which waked my lyre.
Eyes like to thine, which beamed as bright
As stars, that through the veil of night,
Sent forth a brimy fire.
I seize the Harp; alas! in vain,
I try to wake those notes again,
Which it breathed forth of yore.
With youth its sound has died away;
Old age hath touch'd it with decay;
It will be heard no more!
Yet, at my touch, that ancient lyre
Deigns one parting note respire.
Lady, it breathes of heaven,
It speaks in praise of holy shrine;
Of eyes upturned to Him Divine,
By whom are sins forgiven.

II

It tells the rose, which blooms so gay
And courts the Zyphers kiss today,
As if t'would never die;
Its leaves, which perfume all around,
Strew'd on the earth shall soon be found;
Unnoticed, there to die.
Unwelcomed truth it tells to thee,
Lovely in Beauty's majesty,
The roses fate—is thine:
Unlike in this—thy soul, so pure,
Through endless ages shall endure.
Kneel thou at Holy Shrines!

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