Thomas Moore

May 28, 1780 - Feb 26, 1852


Odes To Nea: I stole along the flowery bank...

I stole along the flowery bank...

by Thomas Moore

I stole along the flowery bank,
While many a bending sea-grape drank
The sprinkle of the feathery oar
That wing'd me round this fairy shore!
'Twas noon; and every orange bud
Hung languid o'er the crystal flood,
Faint as the lids of maiden eyes
Beneath a lover's burning sighs!
Oh for a naiad's sparry bower,
To shade me in that glowing hour!

A little dove, of milky hue,
Before me from a plantain flew,
And, light, along the water's brim,
I steered my gentle bark by him;
For Fancy told me, Love had sent
This snowy bird of blandishment,
To lead me where my soul should meet --
I knew not what, but something sweet!

Blest be the little pilot dove!
He had indeed been sent by Love,
To guide me to a scene so dear,
As Fate allows but seldom here:
One of those rare and brilliant hours,
Which, like the aloe's lingering flowers,
May blossom to the eye of man
But once in all his weary span!

Just where the margin's opening shade
A vista from the waters made,
My bird repos'd his silver plume
Upon a rich banana's bloom.
Oh, vision bright! oh, spirit fair!
What spell, what magic rais'd her there?
'Twas Nea! slumbering calm and mild,
And bloomy as the dimpled child
Whose spirit in elysium keeps
Its playful sabbath, while he sleeps!

The broad banana's green embrace
Hung shadowy round each tranquil grace;
One little beam alone could win
The leaves to let it wander in,
And, stealing over all her charms,
From lip to cheek, from neck to arms,
It glanc'd around a fiery kiss,
All trembling, as it went, with bliss!

Her eyelid's black and silken fringe
Lay on her cheek, of vermil tinge,
Like the first ebon cloud, that closes
Dark on evening's heaven of roses!
Her glances, though in slumber hid,
Seem'd glowing through their ivory lid,
And o'er her lip's reflecting dew
A soft and liquid lustre threw,
Such as, declining dim and faint,
The lamp of some beloved saint
Doth shed upon a flowery wreath,
Which pious hands have hung beneath.
Was ever witchery half so sweet!
Think, think how all my pulses beat,
As o'er the rustling bank I stole --
Oh! you, that know the lover's soul,
It is for you to dream the bliss,
The tremblings of an hour like this!

The sea-side or mangrove grape, a native of the Wet Indies.

The Agave. I know that this is an erroneous idea, but it is quite true enough for poetry. Plato, I think, allows a poet to be three removes from truth;


The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore.
Copyright 1835
Philadelphia: J. Crissy, No. 4, Minor Street, and Desilver, Thomas, And Co., No. 247, Market Street