Sunset Meditation, Under The Apprehension Of Approaching Blindness

9 Jan

by Joanna Baillie (1762-1851 / Scotland)

In tremulous vision, falsely near,
The forms of nature as phantoms appear,
With the wonted colours of earth and sky,
When o’er them wanders my fixless eye.
O, let not one image from memory fade,
That might dimly gleam the coming shade;
Be the parting aspect deeply imprest,
Like a mother’s glance ere she sank to rest!
Shall I see those infant leaves, which now
So lightly feather each waving bough,
That scarce the descending orb they veil,-
Shall I behold them wax sere and pale?
Or must I, when Autumn’s rustling breeze,
Strews the frost-ting’d foliage round the trees,
Mournfully fancy the oak’s ruddy brown,
And the mountain-ash, drooping wanly down?
And, when in this cottage-porch reclin’d,
Where the woodbine’s tendrils sport in the wind,
Still clinging with all their early love,
To the arch o’er which they climb’d above,–
Will the picture sav’d from oblivion’s stream,
Resemble the trace of a vivid dream,
And the scenes I never again can view,
Be imag’d in fragments of heighten’d hue?
Shall I only then from its temper’d glow,
The hour of the Western glories know?
While memory’s pencil may fondly seek,
To repaint each amber and crimson streak,
And truly combine to the mental gaze,
The changeful tints of the cloud-wrapt blaze:
All, all that could wring from the scorner’s breast,
A prayer to Creation’s God–confest!
Let gratitude’s source unfailing be found,
‘Midst the desert of darkness spreading around!
Tho’ withdrawn, be the blessings ne’er forgot
Which have shed their balm o’er my varied lot:
Not even the floweret of briefest day,
Which I’ve watch’d, dew-gemm’d in the morning ray,
Till the beams that open’d each blooming leaf,
Seem’d to cheer a bosom clouded with grief.
But doubly endear’d and ne’er to decline,
The power to console me, my friend, is thine!
If thoughts that dwell in the deep heart’s core
Must be exchanged by the eye no more;
If this were the last confiding token
Of all that thy look of love hath spoken;–
By the tender touch and the quivering tone,
I should know the heart to be still my own. 
(Found at

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