Felicia Dorothea Hemans

The Better Land

"I hear thee speak of a better land,

Thou callest its children a happy band.

O, mother! oh, where is that radiant shore?

Shall we not seek it, and weep no more?

Is it where the flower of the orange blows,

And the fireflies dance through the myrtle boughs?"

"Not there, not there, my child."

"Is it where the feathery palm trees rise,

And the date grows ripe under sunny skies?

Or 'midst the green islands of glittering seas,

Where fragrant forests perfume the breeze,

And strange, bright birds on their starry wings

Bear the rich hues of all glorious things?"

"Not there, not there, my child."

"Is it far away, in some region old,

Where the rivers wander o'er sands of gold?

Where the burning rays of the ruby shine,

And the diamond lights up the secret mine,

And the pearl gleams forth from the coral strand—

Is it there, sweet mother, that better land?"

"Not there, not there, my child."

"Eye hath not seen it, my gentle boy!

Ear hath not heard its deep songs of joy;

Dreams cannot picture a world so fair;

Sorrow and death may not enter there;

Time doth not breathe on its fadeless bloom;

Far beyond the clouds and beyond the tomb,

It is there, it is there, my child."