Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

The latest story about an archeological dig that recovered a couple buried together touched me, perhaps it does because they are proof true love existed so many years ago. They were buried over 5,000 years ago yet here they are, forever held in an embrace into a life ever lasting.

It reminded me of a poem by Felicia Dorothea Hemans I once had the pleasure of reading; the one I share here:

Thou thing of years departed!
What ages have gone by
Since here the mournful seal was set
by love and agony?

Temple and tower have mouldered,
Empires from earth have passed,
And woman's heart hath left a trace
Those glories to outlast!

And childhood's fragile image,
Thus fearfully enshrined,
Survives the proud memorials reared
By conquerors on mankind.

Babe! wert thou brightly slumbering
Upon they mother's breast
When suddenly the fiery tomb
Shut round each gentle guest?

A strange, dark fate o'ertook you,
Fair bab and loving heart!
One moment of a thousand pangs -
Yet better than to part!

Haply of that fond bosom
On ashes here impressed,
Thou wert the only treasure, child!
Whereon a hope might rest.

Perchance all vainly lavished
Its other love had been;
And where it trusted, nought remained
But thorns on which to lean.

Far better, then, to perish,
Thy form within its clasp,
Than live and lose thee, precious one!
From that impassioned grasp.

O, I could pass all relics
Left by the pomps of old,
To gaze on this rue momument
Case in affection's mould.

Love! human love! what art thou?
Thy print upon the dust
Outlives the cities of renown
Wherein the mighty trust!

Immortal, O, immortal
Thou are, whoe earthly glow
Hath given these ashes holiness -
It must, it must be so!

"In the excavations (1763-1820) at Pompei and Herculaneum, two cities destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., plaster of Paris was inserted into empty spaces in the lava where there had been bodies. Thus a replica of the forms of the bodies was obtained. Hemans refers, as she said, to 'the impression of a woman's form, with an infant clasped to the bosom, found at the uncovering of Herculaneum.'"

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