August 23, 2011

Hooper: the rich verdure of her native hills

Lucy Hooper was born in Newburyport, Rhode Island but moved to Brooklyn as a teenager. She remained there for the rest of her short life (she died at age 25). It was also there that she began publishing her first poems in the local newspaper. She was about 18 years old when she visited Newburyport again, not having seen it for about three years, and was inspired to write about the experience in a poem dated August 23, 1839. It is titled "Lines After Visiting Newburyport":

Sweet were the airs of home, when first their breath
Came to the wanderer, as her gladdened eye
Met the rich verdure of her native hills,
And the clear glancing waters brought again
A thousand dreams of childhood to the heart,
That had so pined amid the city's hum
For the glad breath of home, the waving trees,
And the fair flowers that in the olden time
Blew freshly 'mid the rocky cliffs.

                                                      All these
Had seemed but Fancy's picture, and the hues
Of memory's pencil, fainter day by day
Gave back the tracery, in the crowded mart

There were no green paths where the buds of home
Might blow unchecked, and a forgotten thing
Weie Spring's first violets to the wanderer's heart,
Till once again amid those welcome haunts
The faded lines grew vivid, and the flowers—
The fresh pure flowers of youth brought back again
The bloom of early thoughts.

                                              Oh! brightly glanced
Thy waters, river of my heart, and dreams
Sweeter than childhood conneth, came anew
With my first sight of thee, bright memories linked
With thy familiar music, sparkling tide!
The rocks and hills all smiled a welcome back,
And Memory's pencil hath a fadeless green
For that one hour by thee!

                                         Oh! gentle home,
Comes with thy name fair visions, kindly tones,
Warm greetings from the heart, and eyes whose light
Hath smiled upon my dreams.

                                                Yet golden links
Were strangely parted, music tones had past,
And ties unloosed, that unto many a heart
Were bound with life, the musing child no more
Might watch the glancing of the distant sails,
And dream of one, whose glad returning step
Made ever the fair sunshine of her home;
The sister's heart might thrill no more to meet
One voice, that in the silence of the grave
Is hushed forever, and whose eye's soft light
Comes with its starry radiance, when her soul
Pines in the silent hour.

                                     Home, sweet home!
There are sad memories with thee; Earth hath not
A place where Change ne'er cometh, and where Death
Doth cast no shadow! yet the moonlight lieth
Softly in all thy still and shaded streets,
And the deep stars of midnight purely shine,
Bringing a thought of that far world, where Love
Bindeth again his lost and treasured gems,
And in whose " many mansions" there may be
A home where Change ne'er cometh, and where Death.
May leave no trace upon the pure in heart,
Who bend before their Father's throne in Heaven!

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