Cards of Fortune

by Eliza Acton

Eliza Acton

MANY a graven gem, beset
With gold, is worn as an amulet
In the far-off climes of the East,-a charm
To preserve the bosom from grief and harm.
Within thy breast a spirit dwells,
More powerful ev'n than Arab-spells :-
'Tis Love!-oh, keep it pure-and still
'Twill be thy shield 'gainst many an ill!
PLUCK, in the depth of the midnight hour,
Buds of the beautiful Passion-flow'r;
Take the young Rose of the snowy vest,
The purest one, and the loveliest
With the twilight Primrose,-and let them be,
Blended with braids of the Sensitive tree:
Pillow thy head on that star-light wreath,
And the balmy spell of its dewy breath
Will cause such dreams o'er thy sleep to steal,
As shall the future to thee unseal,
And show thee, in visions of curtain'd rest,
The one, who shall cherish, and love thee best!
THY steps shall press a foreign shore,
But thou shalt tread thine own no more;
And thou wilt sigh, but sigh in vain,
To view thy native isle again:
In stranger-land thine eyes shall close;-
In stranger-earth thy dust repose :-
Yet one,-thine own belov'd shall be
Parted, by death alone from thee!
THOU shalt win wealth, if wealth can bless,
And fame, if fame be dear;
Or pass in humble happiness,
The years allowed thee here,
Choose !-but forget not woe, and strife
Are link'd unto ambition's life;-
That envyings follow high renown;-
That riches press the spirit down
With low, mean, cares-but thou art free,
To make, or mar thy destiny!
THY fairest hopes shall perish;
Thy dearest dreams depart;
The love which thou wilt cherish
Will feed upon thy heart;
Thy brow shall be o'er shaded
By darkness, and despair,
And thy pleasant smile be faded
Before the frown of care;
Unless from Pleasure's trance thou wake,
And Error's wildering paths forsake.
IF Spring should bring no bliss to thee,
And Summer should as joyless be,
The Autumn's close will find thee blest,
With all that makes life happiest;
And wintry storms shall shed their wrath
In vain upon thy shelter'd path,
Where Hope's sweet hymn shall still beguile,
And Fortune's sunshine warmly smile!
DARK eyes are steep'd in tears for thee,
And blue ones lose their lustrous light;
While thine, with careless gaiety,
Shine on for ever calmly bright.
Revenge will come !-and thou, in turn,
Shalt lose the looks which charm the many;
And long the cold disdain shalt mourn,
Of one, who ne'er has smil'd on any!
THE clear, warm, waves, which smiling lie
In rest, beneath the summer-sky;-
The sail, in safety wafted on
By light, and perfum'd gales, alone;
The sweetness of the air-harp's sigh
When soft winds wake its melody ;-
A cloudless heav'n;-and thornless flow'rs-
Are emblems of thy coming hours !
THY lips are doom'd awhile to press
The o'erflowing cup of bitterness;
But only for awhile !-the draught
Of suff'ring will be quickly quaff'd,
And sweeter will the future be
For that one taste of ill to thee,
Drain'd and forgotten soon: thy years
Will then be free from grief and tears,
And to thy spirit shall be known
The pleasantness of life alone !-
WHEN Roses bloom on Hecla's brow,
And Violets vein the sunless snow;
When birds of Paradise can bear
Unchill'd, Siberia's desert-air;
When man's weak voice shall charm to sleep
The wild, and tempest-shaken deep:-
Then thou shalt win the seeming good,
Thou hast, in vain, so long pursued.
THOU dwellest within the changeless thought
Of one, whose lightest looks to thee,
Are far more precious, than perfumes brought
From the sun-bright land of Araby.
Richer, than star-like gems, which shed
Their lustrous rays round a royal head,
Is the treasure which true love keeps for thee,
To reward thy prov'd fidelity !-
BEWARE the full of the next May-moon;
But more beware thou, the Ides of June;
Touch no flow'r that the shade falls on;
Move not in dance till the sun's gone down;
Drink not the juice of Oporto's vine;
Pluck not the treacherous Eglantine;
Taste not the fruit of the Orange-grove;
Read not the Mintrel's songs of love;
And thou shalt be prosperous, wealthy, and gay,
Ere a year, and a month have pass'd away!
A BIRD, which droops its wounded wing;
A young flow'r, fading in its spring;
A broken lyre, whose ev'ry tone
Of joy and harmony is gone;
A lonely leaf, whose blighted hue
But mocks alike the beam, and dew,
Of sunny April's glowing sky;-
A ruin'd fountain, moss'd, and dry;-
A shatter'd gem ;-a sinking star,
The mirrors of thy fortune are!
REST thee here !-securely rest,
In thine island sojourn blest.
Safety dwells within thy home;
Danger warns thee not to roam,
For afar, on earth, and sea,
Ten-fold perils lurk for thee.
Friendship's smile, and love's caress,
Here shall form thy happiness :-
Rest thee then,-securely rest
In thine island sojourn blest!
THY brow is bright, and sweet thy smile;
Thy heart, thy heart, is fill'd with guile;
And though thy softly beaming eye
Affects such gentle sympathy,
Thy heart, thy heart is cold as stone,
And feels but for itself alone :-
For this, thou ever more shalt prove,
That those who know thee, cannot love !
MISTS, from the hand of Sorrow flung,
The planet of thy birth o'er hung;
And round it giant-clouds of shame,
In dark'ning masses, clust'ring came,
While that sweet star grew pale to see
Such threat'nings of deep misery.
But yet despond not!-soon the ray
Of Peace shall chase that gloom away,
And ten-fold happiness shall shine
For evils past, o'er thee, and thine!
BEWARE the hand whose daring grasp
Hath wav'd the death-sword in its clasp,
Though fondly to thine own it cling,
With seeming friendship's lingering.
A soldier's hand shall make thy fate,
As Arab-desert desolate,
If thou should'st yet, with daring pride,
On one of war's wild sons confide:
Oh! sadly wilt thou sorrow then
O'er long-past warnings, breath'd in vain.
BELIEVE not all the flatt'ring things,
Some eyes have said to thee;
Nor heed the tender whisperings,
Of love, though sweet they be!
The look and tone alike deceive,
And subtle is the web they weave
For thy poor heart-but thou shalt yet
Their pow'r defy, their charm forget,
And in a true, and gen'rous breast
Thy hopes shall find a happier rest!
SMILE on!-thou wert not form'd for tears;
And if their trace hath been
Upon thy cheek, in those bright years,
When life's first hopes were green;
They were but as the fost'ring dew
Upon the young flow'r's bloom,
Which nourisheth its grace of hue,
And richness of perfume !-
Smile on !-for blest shall be thy lot,
And brilliant thy career :-
Oh! sure the world can offer not
A fairer promise here!-
WHEN next the Rose on its bough shall bloom,
And the soft Lily bursts from its silken tomb,
The star of thy destiny brighter shall shine
Than it e'er hath done yet-and a glow divine,
Of pure, and fadeless joy, shall be
The gift of the smiling fates to thee.
THOU dost pursue a fleeting shade
Which soon will pass away,
Swiftly as morning mist-wreath's fade
Before the Fire-God's ray:
Then to her long-deserted rest,
Within thy warm, but wearied breast,
Peace, like the nestling dove, shall come
To make, and keep, once more her home!
WAND'RING winds, still roving on;
Rainbow-tints, just seen and gone;
Butterflies with painted wing
Mid young spring-flow'rs hovering;-
Meteor-gleams, whose changing ray
Is flown, ere we can mark its play;
All these things resemble thee,
Capricious !-light !-yet fancy-free!
YES, there was one, to whom thy name
Like breathing's of sweet music came;
One who beheld in thee a star
Of guiding light, though seen afar;
And turn'd to thee with love intense,
Yet pure as early innocence.
Thou hast dispell'd that dream but ne'er
Another in thy heart shall share :-
Though many flatter, more caress,
Thy doom is-lasting loneliness!
THRICE happy !-no sorrow thy breast shall know
Till our land's bright roses in dust lie low;
Till trampled and torn by the foe-man's tread,
On our glorious banners disgrace is shed;
Till our soldiers turn from the fight to flee,
And ocean is freed from our mastery;
Till a tyrant's chain, or a hero's grave,
Is all that is left for the true and brave;
And foreign standards are planted o'er,
The free-born breasts of our native shore !-
OH! banish the thoughts which enchain thee,
As if by enchantment,-ere yet
The probe of reality pain thee
With pangs thou may'st never forget!
Awake from thy passionate dreaming,
While now for a moment thou'rt free;
And turn thee from false visions teeming,
With death, to thy fortunes, and thee.
Thou shalt gain what the world cannot render
Of peace, and delight, and repose;
And a warm heart's devotion shall tender
Affections soft balm for thy woes!
GENTLE and pure, shall the happiness be,
Shed over thy dwelling, and centred in thee!
Dear as the Music of days that are gone;
Soft as a beautiful vision that's flown;
Soothing and calm as the moon's silver ray,
When she smilingly chases the night clouds away
Tender and sweet as the nightingale's song,
Borne on the flower-scented breezes along;
Precious as home to the wanderer's heart,
And enduring as Truth-it shall only depart
When the chill of the grave o'er each feeling is thrown,
And the darkness of death o'er thy spirit comes on!
DARKLY, darkly, Misfortune's wing
Is o'er thee rolling its heavy cloud;
Slowly, slowly, 'tis gathering,
Cold, and gloomy, as pleasure's shroud.
Brightly, brightly, the bursting beams
Of courage and hope shall struggle through,
Sweetly, sweetly, the silent gleams
Of happiness chase its raven hue:
Firmly, firmly, sustain thy lot-
That passing shadow shall harm thee not.
PAUSE!-'ere thy choice hath clasp'd the chain
Which may not be unloos'd again;
For though of gold the links may be
They will not press less painfully.
Nor will the fetters bound by pride
The aching of thy bosom hide.
An empire's wealth would ill atone
For feelings crush'd, and peace o'erthrown ;-
Nor might a despot's pow'r repay
The spirit's sunshine pass'd away!
HAST thou e'er seen a moonlight path
Upon the wild waves thrown,
Binding their peacefulness or wrath
As with a silvery zone,
And shining, 'mid the darkness there
More bright than it could gleam elsewhere?
Ev'n such in life thy way shall be!
A moonlight track o'er sorrow's sea!-
BEWARE thou the voice of the stranger,
Though gentle its accents may be,
For sorrow, beguiling, and danger,
Will dwell in its music for thee.
And be not thou too much believing
In eyes that with tenderness shine,
Or bitter will be their deceiving
Of feelings reflected in thine,
And smiles in whose eloquent beaming,
Live sweetness, and beauty, and light,
Will mock thee with treacherous seeming,
Then leave thee to Misery's night !-

Last updated January 14, 2019