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AN AMERICAN TALE.

1 "AH! pity all the pangs I feel,
2 If pity e'er ye knew;
3 An aged father's wounds to heal,
4 Through scenes of death I flew.
5 "Perhaps my hast'ning steps are vain,
6 Perhaps the warrior dies!
7 Yet let me soothe each parting pain
8 Yet lead me where he lies."
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9 Thus to the list'ning band she calls,
10 Nor fruitless her desire,
11 They lead her, panting, to the walls
12 That hold her captive sire.
13 "And is a daughter come to bless
14 These aged eyes once more?
15 Thy father's pains will now be less
16 His pains will now be o'er!"
17 "My father! by this waning lamp
18 Thy form I faintly trace:
19 Yet sure thy brow is cold and damp,
20 And pale thy honour'd face!
21 "In vain thy wretched child is come,
22 She comes too late to save!
23 And only now can share thy doom,
24 And share thy peaceful grave!"
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25 Soft, as amid the lunar beams
26 The falling shadows bend,
27 Upon the bosom of the streams,
28 So soft her tears descend.
29 "Those tears a father ill can bear,
30 He lives, my child, for thee!
31 A gentle youth, with pitying care,
32 Has lent his aid to me.
33 "Born in the western world, his hand
34 Maintains its hostile cause,
35 And fierce against Britannia's band
36 His erring sword he draws;
37 "Yet feels the captive Briton's woe;
38 For his ennobled mind
39 Forgets the name of Britain's foe,
40 In love of human kind!
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41 "Yet know, my child, a dearer tie
42 Has link'd his heart to mine:
43 He mourns with Friendship's holy sigh,
44 The youth belov'd of thine!
45 "But hark! his welcome feet are near
46 Thy rising grief suppress:
47 By darkness veil'd, he hastens here
48 To comfort and to bless."
49 "Stranger! for that dear father's sake,"
50 She cried, in accents mild,
51 "Who lives by thy kind pity, take
52 The blessings of his child!
53 "O, if in heaven, my EDWARD'S breast
54 This deed of mercy knew,
55 That gives my tortur'd bosom rest,
56 He sure would bless thee too!
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57 "Ah, tell me where my lover fell?
58 The fatal scene recall;
59 His last, dear accents, stranger, tell,
60 O, haste and tell me all!
61 "Say, if he gave to love the sigh,
62 That set his spirit free?
63 Say, did he raise his closing eye,
64 As if it sought for me?"
65 "Ask not," her father cried, "to know
66 What, known, were added pain;
67 Nor think, my child, the tale of woe
68 Thy softness can sustain."
69 "Though every joy with EDWARD fled,
70 When EDWARD'S friend is near
71 It soothes my breaking heart," she said,
72 "To tell those joys were dear.
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73 "The western ocean roll'd in vain
74 Its parting waves between,
75 My EDWARD brav'd the dang'rous main,
76 And bless'd our native scene.
77 "Soft Isis heard his artless tale,
78 Ah, stream for ever dear!
79 Whose waters, as they pass'd the vale,
80 Receiv'd a lover's tear.
81 "How could a heart that virtue lov'd,
82 (And sure that heart is mine)
83 Lamented youth! behold unmov'd,
84 The virtues that were thine?
85 "Calm, as the surface of the lake,
86 When all the winds are still;
87 Mild, as the beams of morning break,
88 When first they light the hill;
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89 "So calm was his unruffled soul,
90 Where no rude passion strove;
91 So mild his soothing accents stole,
92 Upon the ear of love.
93 "Where are the dear illusions fled
94 Which sooth'd my former hours?
95 Where is the path that fancy spread,
96 Ah, vainly spread with flowers?
97 "I heard the battle's fearful sounds,
98 They seem'd my lover's knell
99 I heard that, pierc'd with ghastly wounds,
100 My vent'rous lover fell!
101 "My sorrows shall with life endure,
102 For he I lov'd is gone;
103 But something tells my heart, that sure
104 My life will not be long."
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105 "My panting soul can bear no more,"
106 The youth impatient cried;
107 "'Tis EDWARD bids thy griefs be o'er,
108 My love! my destin'd bride!
109 "The life which Heav'n preserv'd, how blest,
110 How fondly priz'd by me!
111 Since dear to my AMELIA'S breast,
112 Since valued still by thee!
113 "My father saw my constant pain
114 When thee I left behind,
115 Nor longer will his power restrain
116 The ties my soul would bind.
117 "And soon thy honor'd sire shall cease
118 The captive's lot to bear;
119 And we, my love, will soothe to peace
120 His griefs, with filial care.
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121 "Then come for ever to my soul!
122 AMELIA come, and prove
123 How calm our blissful years will roll
124 Along, a life of love!"

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): AN AMERICAN TALE.
Themes: love
Genres: occasional poem; narrative verse

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Source edition

Poems on various subjects: with introductory remarks on the present state of science and literature in France. London: G. and W. B. Whittaker, 1823, pp. [181]-189. 

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Helen Maria Williams