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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By On Disappointment

Henry Kirk White (1785–1806)

COME, Disappointment, come!

Not in thy terrors clad;

Come, in thy meekest, saddest guise;

Thy chastening rod but terrifies

The restless and the bad.

But I recline

Beneath thy shrine,

And round my brow resigned thy peaceful cypress twine.

Though Fancy flies away

Before thy hollow tread,

Yet Meditation, in her cell,

Hears with faint eye the lingering knell

That tells her hopes are dead;

And though the tear

By chance appear,

Yet she can smile, and say, My all was not laid here.

Come, Disappointment, come!

Though from Hope’s summit hurled,

Still, rigid nurse, thou art forgiven,

For thou severe wert sent from heaven

To wean me from the world;

To turn my eye

From vanity,

And point to scenes of bliss that never, never die.

What is this passing scene?

A peevish April day!

A little sun—a little rain,

And then night sweeps along the plain,

And all things fade away.

Man (soon discussed)

Yields up his trust,

And all his hopes and fears lie with him in the dust.

Oh, what is Beauty’s power?

It flourishes and dies;

Will the cold earth its silence break,

To tell how soft, how smooth a cheek

Beneath its surface lies?

Mute, mute is all

O’er Beauty’s fall;

Her praise resounds no more when mantled in her pall.

The most beloved on earth

Not long survives to-day;

So music past is obsolete,

And yet ’twas sweet, ’twas passing sweet,

But now ’tis gone away.

Thus does the shade

In memory fade,

When in forsaken tomb the form beloved is laid.

Then since this world is vain,

And volatile, and fleet,

Why should I lay up earthly joys,

Where rust corrupts, and moth destroys,

And cares and sorrows eat?

Why fly from ill

With anxious skill,

When soon this hand will freeze, this throbbing heart be still.

Come, Disappointment, come!

Thou art not stern to me;

Sad Monitress! I own thy sway,

A votary sad in early day,

I bend my knee to thee.

From sun to sun

My race will run,

I only bow, and say, My God, Thy will be done!