Part 4 out of 33
Poor Cloe would give for a well-fledged pair
Her only eye, if you'd ask it;
And Tabitha begged, old toothless fair.
For the youngest Love in the basket.
Come buy my Loves, etc.
But _one_ was left, when Susan came,
One worth them all together;
At sight of her dear looks of shame,
He smiled and pruned his feather.
She wished the boy--'twas more than whim--
Her looks, her sighs betrayed it;
But kisses were not enough for him,
I asked a heart and she paid it!
Good-by, my Loves,
Good-by, my Loves,
'Twould make you smile to've seen us
First, trade for this
Sweet child of bliss,
And then nurse the boy between us.
TO .... ....
The world has just begun to steal
Each hope that led me lightly on;
I felt not, as I used to feel,
And life grew dark and love was gone.
No eye to mingle sorrow's tear,
No lip to mingle pleasure's breath,
No circling arms to draw me near--
'Twas gloomy, and I wished for death.
But when I saw that gentle eye,
Oh! something seemed to tell me then,
That I was yet too young to die,
And hope and bliss might bloom again.
With every gentle smile that crost
Your kindling cheek, you lighted home
Some feeling which my heart had lost
And peace which far had learned to roam.
'Twas then indeed so sweet to live,
Hope looked so new and Love so kind.
That, though I mourn, I yet forgive
The ruin they have left behind.
I could have loved you--oh, so well!--
The dream, that wishing boyhood knows,
Is but a bright, beguiling spell,
That only lives while passion glows.
But, when this early flush declines,
When the heart's sunny morning fleets,
You know not then how close it twines
Round the first kindred soul it meets.
Yes, yes, I could have loved, as one
Who, while his youth's enchantments fall,
Finds something dear to rest upon,
Which pays him for the loss of all.
TO .... ....
Never mind how the pedagogue proses,
You want not antiquity's stamp;
A lip, that such fragrance discloses,
Oh! never should smell of the lamp.
Old Cloe, whose withering kiss
Hath long set the Loves at defiance,
Now, done with the science of bliss,
May take to the blisses of science.
But for _you_ to be buried in books--
Ah, Fanny, they're pitiful sages,
Who could not in _one_ of your looks
Read more than in millions of pages.
Astronomy finds in those eyes
Better light than she studies above;
And Music would borrow your sighs
As the melody fittest for Love.
Your Arithmetic only can trip
If to count your own charms you endeavor;
And Eloquence glows on your lip
When you swear that you'll love me for ever.
Thus you see, what a brilliant alliance
Of arts is assembled in you;--
A course of more exquisite science
Man never need wish to pursue.
And, oh!--if a Fellow like me
May confer a diploma of hearts,
With my lip thus I seal your degree,
My divine little Mistress of Arts!
ON THE DEATH OF A LADY,
Sweet spirit! if thy airy sleep
Nor sees my tears not hears my sighs,
Then will I weep, in anguish weep,
Till the last heart's drop fills mine eyes.
But if thy sainted soul can feel,
And mingles in our misery;
Then, then my breaking heart I'll seal--
Thou shalt not hear one sigh from me.
The beam of morn was on the stream,
But sullen clouds the day deform;
Like thee was that young, orient beam,
Like death, alas, that sullen storm!
Thou wert not formed for living here,
So linked thy soul was with the sky;
Yet, ah, we held thee all so dear,
We thought thou wert not formed to die.
And do I then wonder that Julia deceives me,
When surely there's nothing in nature more common?
She vows to be true, and while vowing she leaves me--
And could I expect any more from a woman?
Oh, woman! your heart is a pitiful treasure;
And Mahomet's doctrine was not too severe,
When he held that you were but materials of pleasure,
And reason and thinking were out of your sphere.
By your heart, when the fond sighing lover can win it,
He thinks that an age of anxiety's paid;
But, oh, while he's blest, let him die at the minute--
If he live but a _day_, he'll be surely betrayed.
THE NATAL GENIUS.
TO .... ....
THE MORNING OF HER BIRTHDAY.
In witching slumbers of the night,
I dreamt I was the airy sprite
That on thy natal moment smiled;
And thought I wafted on my wing
Those flowers which in Elysium spring,
To crown my lovely mortal child.
With olive-branch I bound thy head,
Heart's ease along thy path I shed,
Which was to bloom through all thy years;
Nor yet did I forget to bind
Love's roses, with his myrtle twined,
And dewed by sympathetic tears.
Such was the wild but precious boon
Which Fancy, at her magic noon,
Bade me to Nona's image pay;
And were it thus my fate to be
Thy little guardian deity,
How blest around thy steps I'd play!
Thy life should glide in peace along,
Calm as some lonely shepherd's song
That's heard at distance in the grove;
No cloud should ever dim thy sky,
No thorns along thy pathway lie,
But all be beauty, peace and love.
Indulgent Time should never bring
To thee one blight upon his wing,
So gently o'er thy brow he'd fly;
And death itself should but be felt
Like that of daybeams, when they melt,
Bright to the last, in evening's sky!
SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY JULIA,
ON THE DEATH OF HER BROTHER.
Though sorrow long has worn my heart;
Though every day I've, counted o'er
Hath brought a new and, quickening smart
To wounds that rankled fresh before;
Though in my earliest life bereft
Of tender links by nature tied;
Though hope deceived, and pleasure left;
Though friends betrayed and foes belied;
I still had hopes--for hope will stay
After the sunset of delight;
So like the star which ushers day,
We scarce can think it heralds night!--
I hoped that, after all its strife,
My weary heart at length should rest.
And, feinting from the waves of life,
Find harbor in a brother's breast.
That brother's breast was warm with truth,
Was bright with honor's purest ray;
He was the dearest, gentlest youth--
Ah, why then was he torn away?
He should have stayed, have lingered here
To soothe his Julia's every woe;
He should have chased each bitter tear,
And not have caused those tears to flow.
We saw within his soul expand
The fruits of genius, nurst by taste;
While Science, with a fostering hand,
Upon his brow her chaplet placed.
We saw, by bright degrees, his mind
Grow rich in all that makes men dear;
Enlightened, social, and refined,
In friendship firm, in love sincere.
Such was the youth we loved so well,
And such the hopes that fate denied;--
We loved, but ah! could scarcely tell
How deep, how dearly, till he died!
Close as the fondest links could strain,
Twined with my very heart he grew;
And by that fate which breaks the chain,
The heart is almost broken too.
TO THE LARGE AND BEAUTIFUL MISS......,
IN ALLUSION TO SOME PARTNERSHIP IN A LOTTERY SHARE
In wedlock a species of lottery lies,
Where in blanks and in prizes we deal;
But how comes it that you, such a capital prize,
Should so long have remained in the wheel?
If ever, by Fortune's indulgent decree,
To me such a ticket should roll,
A sixteenth, Heaven knows! were sufficient for me;
For what could _I_ do with the whole?
I thought this heart enkindled lay
On Cupid's burning shrine:
I thought he stole thy heart away,
And placed it near to mine.
I saw thy heart begin to melt,
Like ice before the sun;
Till both a glow congenial felt,
And mingled into one!
With all my soul, then, let us part,
Since both are anxious to be free;
And I will sand you home your heart,
If you will send mine back to me.
We've had some happy hours together,
But joy must often change its wing;
And spring would be but gloomy weather,
If we had nothing else but spring.
'Tis not that I expect to find
A more devoted, fond and true one,
With rosier cheek or sweeter mind--
Enough for me that she's a new one.
Thus let us leave the bower of love,
Where we have loitered long in bliss;
And you may down _that_ pathway rove,
While I shall take my way through _this_.
"She never looked so kind before--
"Yet why the wanton's smile recall?
"I've seen this witchery o'er and o'er,
"'Tis hollow, vain, and heartless all!"
Thus I said and, sighing drained
The cup which she so late had tasted;
Upon whose rim still fresh remained
The breath, so oft in falsehood wasted.
I took the harp and would have sung
As if 'twere not of her I sang;
But still the notes on Lamia hung--
On whom but Lamia _could_ they hang?
Those eyes of hers, that floating shine,
Like diamonds in some eastern river;
That kiss, for which, if worlds were mine,
A world for every kiss I'd give her.
That frame so delicate, yet warmed
With flushes of love's genial hue;
A mould transparent, as if formed
To let the spirit's light shine through.
Of these I sung, and notes and words
Were sweet, as if the very air
From Lamia's lip hung o'er the chords,
And Lamia's voice still warbled there!
But when, alas, I turned the theme,
And when of vows and oaths I spoke,
Of truth and hope's seducing dream--
The chord beneath my finger broke.
False harp! false woman! such, oh, such
Are lutes too frail and hearts too willing;
Any hand, whate'er its touch,
Can set their chords or pulses thrilling.
And when that thrill is most awake,
And when you think Heaven's joys await you,
The nymph will change, the chord will break--
Oh Love, oh Music, how I hate you!
I saw the peasant's hand unkind
From yonder oak the ivy sever;
They seemed in very being twined;
Yet now the oak is fresh as ever!
Not so the widowed ivy shines:
Torn from its dear and only stay,
In drooping widowhood it pines,
And scatters all its bloom away.
Thus, Julia, did our hearts entwine,
Till Fate disturbed their tender ties:
Thus gay indifference blooms in thine,
While mine, deserted, droops and dies!
HYMN OF A VIRGIN OF DELPHI,
AT THE TOMB OF HER MOTHER.
Oh, lost, forever lost--no more
Shall Vesper light our dewy way
Along the rocks of Crissa's shore,
To hymn the fading fires of day;
No more to Tempe's distant vale
In holy musings shall we roam,
Through summer's glow and winter's gale,
To bear the mystic chaplets home.
'Twas then my soul's expanding zeal,
By nature warmed and led by thee,
In every breeze was taught to feel
The breathings of a Deity.
Guide of my heart! still hovering round.
Thy looks, thy words are still my own--
I see thee raising from the ground
Some laurel, by the winds o'er thrown.
And hear thee say, "This humble bough
Was planted for a doom divine;
And, though it droop in languor now,
Shall flourish on the Delphic shrine!"
"Thus, in the vale of earthly sense,
"Though sunk awhile the spirit lies,
"A viewless hand shall cull it thence
"To bloom immortal in the skies!"
All that the young should feel and know
By thee was taught so sweetly well,
Thy words fell soft as vernal snow,
And all was brightness where they fell!
Fond soother of my infant tear,
Fond sharer of my infant joy,
Is not thy shade still lingering here?
Am I not still thy soul's employ?
Oh yes--and, as in former days,
When, meeting on the sacred mount,
Our nymphs awaked their choral lays,
And danced around Cassotis' fount;
As then, 'twas all thy wish and care,
That mine should be the simplest mien,
My lyre and voice the sweetest there,
My foot the lightest o'er the green:
So still, each look and step to mould,
Thy guardian care is round me spread,
Arranging every snowy fold
And guiding every mazy tread.
And, when I lead the hymning choir,
Thy spirit still, unseen and free,
Hovers between my lip and lyre,
And weds them into harmony.
Flow, Plistus, flow, thy murmuring wave
Shall never drop its silvery tear
Upon so pure, so blest a grave,
To memory so entirely dear!
 The laurel, for the common uses of the temple, for adorning
the altars and sweeping the pavement, was supplied by a tree near the
fountain of Castalia; but upon all important occasions, they sent to Tempe
for their laurel. We find, in Pausanias; that this valley supplied the
branches, of which the temple was originally constructed; and Plutarch
says, in his Dialogue on Music, "The youth who brings the Tempic laurel to
Delphi is always attended by a player on the flute."
--_sine me sit nulla Venus_.
Our hearts, my love, were formed to be
The genuine twins of Sympathy,
They live with one sensation;
In joy or grief, but most in love,
Like chords in unison they move,
And thrill with like vibration.
How oft I've beard thee fondly say,
Thy vital pulse shall cease to play
When mine no more is moving;
Since, now, to feel a joy _alone_
Were worse to thee than feeling none,
So twined are we in loving!
On beds of snow the moonbeam slept,
And chilly was the midnight gloom,
When by the damp grave Ellen wept--
Fond maid! it was her Lindor's tomb!
A warm tear gushed, the wintry air,
Congealed it as it flowed away:
All night it lay an ice-drop there,
At morn it glittered in the ray.
An angel, wandering from her sphere,
Who saw this bright, this frozen gem,
To dew-eyed Pity brought the tear
And hung it on her diadem!
My love and I, the other day,
Within a myrtle arbor lay,
When near us, from a rosy bed,
A little Snake put forth its head.
"See," said the maid with thoughtful eyes--
"Yonder the fatal emblem lies!
"Who could expect such hidden harm
"Beneath the rose's smiling charm?"
Never did grave remark occur
Less _a-propos_ than this from her.
I rose to kill the snake, but she,
Half-smiling, prayed it might not be.
"No," said the maiden--and, alas,
Her eyes spoke volumes, while she said it--
"Long as the snake is in the grass,
"One _may_, perhaps, have cause to dread it:
"But, when its wicked eyes appear,
"And when we know for what they wink so,
"One must be _very_ simple, dear,
"To let it wound one--don't you think so?"
Is the song of Rosa mute?
Once such lays inspired her lute!
Never doth a sweeter song
Steal the breezy lyre along,
When the wind, in odors dying,
Woos it with enamor'd sighing.
Is my Rosa's lute unstrung?
Once a tale of peace it sung
To her lover's throbbing breast--
Then was he divinely blest!
Ah! but Rosa loves no more,
Therefore Rosa's song is o'er;
And her lute neglected lies;
And her boy forgotten sighs.
Silent lute--forgotten lover--
Rosa's love and song are over!
_Sic juvat perire_.
When wearied wretches sink to sleep,
How heavenly soft their slumbers lie!
How sweet is death to those who weep,
To those who weep and long to die!
Saw you the soft and grassy bed,
Where flowrets deck the green earth's breast?
'Tis there I wish to lay my head,
'Tis there I wish to sleep at rest.
Oh, let not tears embalm my tomb,--
None but the dews at twilight given!
Oh, let not sighs disturb the gloom,--
None but the whispering winds of heaven!
LOVE AND MARRIAGE.
_Eque brevi verbo ferre perenne malum_.
SECUNDUS, eleg. vii.
Still the question I must parry,
Still a wayward truant prove:
Where I love, I must not marry;
Where I marry, can not love.
Were she fairest of creation,
With the least presuming mind;
Learned without affectation;
Not deceitful, yet refined;
Wise enough, but never rigid;
Gay, but not too lightly free;
Chaste as snow, and yet not frigid:
Fond, yet satisfied with me:
Were she all this ten times over,
All that heaven to earth allows.
I should be too much her lover
Ever to become her spouse.
Love will never bear enslaving;
Summer garments suit him best;
Bliss itself is not worth having,
If we're by compulsion blest.
I filled to thee, to thee I drank,
I nothing did but drink and fill;
The bowl by turns was bright and blank,
'Twas drinking, filling, drinking still.
At length I bade an artist paint
Thy image in this ample cup,
That I might see the dimpled saint,
To whom I quaffed my nectar up.
Behold, how bright that purple lip
Now blushes through the wave at me;
Every roseate drop I sip
Is just like kissing wine from thee.
And still I drink the more for this;
For, ever when the draught I drain,
Thy lip invites another kiss,
And--in the nectar flows again.
So, here's to thee, my gentle dear,
And may that eyelid never shine
Beneath a darker, bitterer tear
Than bathes it in this bowl of mine!
Chloris, I swear, by all I ever swore,
That from this hour I shall not love thee more.--
"What! love no more? Oh! why this altered vow?"
Because I _can not_ love thee _more_
TO MISS .......
ON HER ASKING THE AUTHOR WHY SHE HAD SLEEPLESS NIGHTS.
I'll ask the sylph who round thee flies,
And in thy breath his pinion dips,
Who suns him in thy radiant eyes,
And faints upon thy sighing lips:
I'll ask him where's the veil of sleep
That used to shade thy looks of light;
And why those eyes their vigil keep
When other suns are sunk in night?
And I will say--her angel breast
Has never throbbed with guilty sting;
Her bosom is the sweetest nest
Where Slumber could repose his wing!
And I will say--her cheeks that flush,
Like vernal roses in the sun,
Have ne'er by shame been taught to blush,
Except for what her eyes have done!
Then tell me, why, thou child of air!
Does slumber from her eyelids rove?
What is her heart's impassioned care?
Perhaps, oh sylph! perhaps, 'tis _love_.
Come, tell me where the maid is found.
Whose heart can love without deceit,
And I will range the world around,
To sigh one moment at her feet.
Oh! tell me where's her sainted home,
What air receives her blessed sigh,
A pilgrimage of years I'll roam
To catch one sparkle of her eye!
And if her cheek be smooth and bright,
While truth within her bosom lies,
I'll gaze upon her morn and night,
Till my heart leave me through my eyes.
Show me on earth a thing so rare,
I'll own all miracles are true;
To make one maid sincere and fair,
Oh, 'tis the utmost Heaven can do!
_Che con le lor bugie pajon divini._
I do confess, in many a sigh,
My lips have breathed you many a lie;
And who, with such delights in view,
Would lose them for a lie or two?
Nay,--look not thus, with brow reproving;
Lies are, my dear, the soul of loving.
If half we tell the girls were true,
If half we swear to think and do,
Were aught but lying's bright illusion,
This world would be in strange confusion.
If ladies' eyes were, every one,
As lovers swear, a radiant sun,
Astronomy must leave the skies,
To learn her lore in ladies' eyes.
Oh, no--believe me, lovely girl,
When nature turns your teeth to pearl,
Your neck to snow, your eyes to fire,
Your amber locks to golden wire,
Then, only then can Heaven decree,
That you should live for only me,
Or I for you, as night and morn,
We've swearing kist, and kissing sworn.
And now, my gentle hints to clear,
For once I'll tell you truth, my dear.
Whenever you may chance to meet
Some loving youth, whose love is sweet,
Long as you're false and he believes you,
Long as you trust and he deceives you,
So long the blissful bond endures,
And while he lies, his heart is yours:
But, oh! you've wholly lost the youth
The instant that he tells you truth.
Friend of my soul, this goblet sip,
'Twill chase that pensive tear;
'Tis not so sweet as woman's lip,
But, oh! 'tis more sincere.
Like her delusive beam,
'Twill steal away thy mind:
But, truer than love's dream,
It leaves no sting behind.
Come, twine the wreath, thy brows to shade;
These flowers were culled at noon;--
Like woman's love the rose will fade,
But, ah! not half so soon.
For though the flower's decayed,
Its fragrance is not o'er;
But once when love's betrayed,
Its sweet life blooms no more.
THE PHILOSOPHER ARISTIPPUS
TO A LAMP WHICH HAD BEEN GIVEN HIM BY LAIS.
_Dulcis conscia lectuli lucerna_.
MARTIAL, _lib. xiv. epig. 89_.
"Oh! love the Lamp" (my Mistress said),
"The faithful Lamp that, many a night,
"Beside thy Lais' lonely bed?
"Has kept its little watch of light.
"Full often has it seen her weep,
"And fix her eye upon its flame.
"Till, weary, she has sunk to sleep,
"Repeating her beloved's name.
"Then love the Lamp--'twill often lead
"Thy step through learning's sacred way;
"And when those studious eyes shall read,
"At midnight, by its lonely ray,
"Of things sublime, of nature's birth,
"Of all that's bright in heaven or earth,
Oh, think that she, by whom 'twas given,
"Adores thee more than earth or heaven!"
Yes--dearest Lamp, by every charm
On which thy midnight beam has hung;
The head reclined, the graceful arm
Across the brow of ivory flung;
The heaving bosom, partly hid,
The severed lips unconscious sighs,
The fringe that from the half-shut lid
Adown the cheek of roses lies;
By these, by all that bloom untold,
And long as all shall charm my heart,
I'll love my little Lamp of gold--
My Lamp and I shall never part.
And often, as she smiling said,
In fancy's hour thy gentle rays
Shall guide my visionary tread
Through poesy's enchanting maze.
Thy flame shall light the page refined,
Where still we catch the Chian's breath,
Where still the bard though cold in death,
Has left his soul unquenched behind.
Or, o'er thy humbler legend shine,
Oh man of Ascra's dreary glades,
To whom the nightly warbling Nine
A wand of inspiration gave,
Plucked from the greenest tree, that shades
The crystal of Castalia's wave.
Then, turning to a purer lore,
We'll cull the sage's deep-hid store,
From Science steal her golden clue,
And every mystic path pursue,
Where Nature, far from vulgar eyes,
Through labyrinths of wonder flies.
'Tis thus my heart shall learn to know
How fleeting is this world below,
Where all that meets the morning light,
Is changed before the fall of night!
I'll tell thee, as I trim thy fire,
"Swift, swift the tide of being runs,
"And Time, who bids thy flame expire,
"Will also quench yon heaven of suns."
Oh, then if earth's united power
Can never chain one feathery hour;
If every print we leave to-day
To-morrow's wave will sweep away;
Who pauses to inquire of heaven
Why were the fleeting treasures given,
The sunny days, the shady nights,
And all their brief but dear delights,
Which heaven has made for man to use,
And man should think it crime to lose?
Who that has culled a fresh-blown rose
Will ask it why it breathes and glows,
Unmindful of the blushing ray,
In which it shines its soul away;
Unmindful of the scented sigh,
With which it dies and loves to die.
Pleasure, thou only good on earth
One precious moment given to thee--
Oh! by my Lais' lip, 'tis worth
The sage's immortality.
Then far be all the wisdom hence,
That would our joys one hour delay!
Alas, the feast of soul and sense
Love calls us to in youth's bright day,
If not soon tasted, fleets away.
Ne'er wert thou formed, my Lamp, to shed
Thy splendor on a lifeless page;--
Whate'er my blushing Lais said
Of thoughtful lore and studies sage,
'Twas mockery all--her glance of joy
Told me thy dearest, best employ.
And, soon, as night shall close the eye
Of heaven's young wanderer in the west;
When seers are gazing on the sky,
To find their future orbs of rest;
Then shall I take my trembling way,
Unseen but to those worlds above,
And, led by thy mysterious ray,
Steal to the night-bower of my love.
 It does not appear to have been very difficult to become a
philosopher amongst the ancients. A moderate store of learning, with a
considerable portion of confidence, and just wit enough to produce an
occasional apophthegm, seem to have been all the qualifications necessary
for the purpose.
 Aristippus considered motion as the principle of happiness,
in which idea he differed from the Epicureans, who looked to a state of
repose as the only true voluptuousness, and avoided even the too lively
agitations of pleasure, as a violent and ungraceful derangement of the
ON HER BEAUTIFUL TRANSLATION OF VOITURE'S KISS.
_Mon ame sur mon levre etoit lors toute entiere.
Pour savourer le miel qui sur la votre etoit;
Mais en me retirant, elle resta derriere,
Tant de ce doux plaisir l'amorce l'a restoit_.
How heavenly was the poet's doom,
To breathe his spirit through a kiss:
And lose within so sweet a tomb
The trembling messenger of bliss!
And, sure his soul returned to feel
That it _again_ could ravished be;
For in the kiss that thou didst steal,
His life and soul have fled to thee.
"Good night! good night!"--And is it so?
And must I from my Rosa go?
Oh Rosa, say "Good night!" once more,
And I'll repeat it o'er and o'er,
Till the first glance of dawning light
Shall find us saying, still, "Good night."
And still "Good night," my Rosa, say--
But whisper still, "A minute stay;"
And I will stay, and every minute
Shall have an age of transport in it;
Till Time himself shall stay his flight,
To listen to our sweet "Good night."
"Good night!" you'll murmur with a sigh,
And tell me it is time to fly:
And I will vow, will swear to go,
While still that sweet voice murmurs "No!"
Till slumber seal our weary sight--
And then, my love, my soul, "Good night!"
Why does azure deck the sky?
'Tis to be like thy looks of blue.
Why is red the rose's dye?
Because it is thy blushes' hue.
All that's fair, by Love's decree,
Has been made resembling thee!
Why is falling snow so white,
But to be like thy bosom fair!
Why are solar beams so bright?
That they may seem thy golden hair!
All that's bright, by Love's decree,
Has been made resembling thee!
Why are nature's beauties felt?
Oh! 'tis thine in her we see!
Why has music power to melt?
Oh! because it speaks like thee.
All that's sweet, by Love's decree,
Has been made resembling thee!
Like one who trusts to summer skies,
And puts his little bark to sea,
Is he who, lured by smiling eyes,
Consigns his simple heart to thee.
For fickle is the summer wind,
And sadly may the bark be tost;
For thou art sure to change thy mind,
And then the wretched heart is lost!
WRITTEN IN A COMMONPLACE BOOK, CALLED "THE BOOK OF FOLLIES;"
IN WHICH EVERY ONE THAT OPENED IT WAS TO CONTRIBUTE SOMETHING.
TO THE BOOK OF FOLLIES.
This tribute's from a wretched elf,
Who hails thee, emblem of himself.
The book of life, which I have traced,
Has been, like thee, a motley waste
Of follies scribbled o'er and o'er,
One folly bringing hundreds more.
Some have indeed been writ so neat,
In characters so fair, so sweet,
That those who judge not too severely,
Have said they loved such follies dearly!
Yet still, O book! the allusion stands;
For these were penned by _female_ hands:
The rest--alas! I own the truth--
Have all been scribbled so uncouth
That Prudence, with a withering look,
Disdainful, flings away the book.
Like thine, its pages here and there
Have oft been stained with blots of care;
And sometimes hours of peace, I own,
Upon some fairer leaves have shone,
White as the snowings of that heaven
By which those hours of peace were given;
But now no longer--such, oh, such
The blast of Disappointment's touch!--
No longer now those hours appear;
Each leaf is sullied by a tear:
Blank, blank is every page with care,
Not even a folly brightens there.
Will they yet brighten?--never, never!
Then _shut the book_, O God, for ever!
Say, why should the girl of my soul be in tears
At a meeting of rapture like this,
When the glooms of the past and the sorrow of years
Have been paid by one moment of bliss?
Are they shed for that moment of blissful delight,
Which dwells on her memory yet?
Do they flow, like the dews of the love-breathing night,
From the warmth of the sun that has set?
Oh! sweet is the tear on that languishing smile,
That smile, which is loveliest then;
And if such are the drops that delight can beguile,
Thou shalt weep them again and again.
LIGHT SOUNDS THE HARP.
Light sounds the harp when the combat is over,
When heroes are resting, and joy is in bloom;
When laurels hang loose from the brow of the lover,
And Cupid makes wings of the warrior's plume.
But, when the foe returns,
Again the hero burns;
High flames the sword in his hand once more:
The clang of mingling arms
Is then the sound that charms,
And brazen notes of war, that stirring trumpets pour;--
Then, again comes the Harp, when the combat is over--
When heroes are resting, and Joy is in bloom--
When laurels hang loose from the brow of the lover,
And Cupid makes wings of the warrior's plume.
Light went the harp when the War-God, reclining,
Lay lulled on the white arm of Beauty to rest,
When round his rich armor the myrtle hung twining,
And flights of young doves made his helmet their nest.
But, when the battle came,
The hero's eye breathed flame:
Soon from his neck the white arm was flung;
While, to his waking ear,
No other sounds were dear
But brazen notes of war, by thousand trumpets sung.
But then came the light harp, when danger was ended,
And Beauty once more lulled the War-God to rest;
When tresses of gold with his laurels lay blended,
And flights of young doves made his helmet their nest.
FROM THE GREEK OF MELEAGER.
Fill high the cup with liquid flame,
And speak my Heliodora's name.
Repeat its magic o'er and o'er,
And let the sound my lips adore,
Live in the breeze, till every tone,
And word, and breath, speaks her alone.
Give me the wreath that withers there,
It was but last delicious night,
It circled her luxuriant hair,
And caught her eyes' reflected light.
Oh! haste, and twine it round my brow,
'Tis all of her that's left me now.
And see--each rosebud drops a tear,
To find the nymph no longer here--
No longer, where such heavenly charms
As hers _should_ be--within these arms.
Fly from the world, O Bessy! to me,
Thou wilt never find any sincerer;
I'll give up the world, O Bessy! for thee,
I can never meet any that's dearer.
Then tell me no more, with a tear and a sigh,
That our loves will be censured by many;
All, all have their follies, and who will deny
That ours is the sweetest of any?
When your lip has met mine, in communion so sweet,
Have we felt as if virtue forbid it?--
Have we felt as if heaven denied them to meet?--
No, rather 'twas heaven that did it.
So innocent, love, is the joy we then sip,
So little of wrong is there in it,
That I wish all my errors were lodged on your lip,
And I'd kiss them away in a minute.
Then come to your lover, oh! fly to his shed,
From a world which I know thou despisest;
And slumber will hover as light o'er our bed!
As e'er on the couch of the wisest.
And when o'er our pillow the tempest is driven,
And thou, pretty innocent, fearest,
I'll tell thee, it is not the chiding of heaven,
'Tis only our lullaby, dearest.
And, oh! while, we lie on our deathbed, my love,
Looking back on the scene of our errors,
A sigh from my Bessy shall plead then above,
And Death be disarmed of his terrors,
And each to the other embracing will say,
"Farewell! let us hope we're forgiven."
Thy last fading glance will illumine the way,
And a kiss be our passport to heaven!
_---- vo cercand' io,
Donna quant' e possibile in altrui
La desiata vostra forma vera_.
PETRARC, _Sonett_. 14.
Yes, if 'twere any common love,
That led my pliant heart astray,
I grant, there's not a power above
Could wipe the faithless crime away.
But 'twas my doom to err with one
In every look so like to thee
That, underneath yon blessed sun
So fair there are but thou and she
Both born of beauty, at a birth,
She held with thine a kindred sway,
And wore the only shape on earth
That could have lured my soul to stray.
Then blame me not, if false I be,
'Twas love that waked the fond excess;
My heart had been more true to thee,
Had mine eye prized thy beauty less.
Yes! had I leisure to sigh and mourn,
Fanny, dearest, for thee I'd sigh;
And every smile on my cheek should turn
To tears when thou art nigh.
But, between love, and wine, and sleep,
So busy a life I live,
That even the time it would take to weep
Is more than my heart can give.
Then bid me not to despair and pine,
Fanny, dearest of all the dears!
The Love that's ordered to bathe in wine,
Would be sure to take cold in tears.
Reflected bright in this heart of mine,
Fanny, dearest, thy image lies;
But, ah, the mirror would cease to shine,
If dimmed too often with sighs.
They lose the half of beauty's light,
Who view it through sorrow's tear;
And 'tis but to see thee truly bright
That I keep my eye-beam clear.
Then wait no longer till tears shall flow,
Fanny, dearest--the hope is vain;
If sunshine cannot dissolve thy snow,
I shall never attempt it with rain.
TO .... ....
No--Lady! Lady! keep the ring:
Oh! think, how many a future year,
Of placid smile and downy wing,
May sleep within its holy sphere.
Do not disturb their tranquil dream,
Though love hath ne'er the mystery warmed;
Yet heaven will shed a soothing beam,
To bless the bond itself hath formed.
But then, that eye, that burning eye,--
Oh! it doth ask, with witching power,
If heaven can ever bless the tie
Where love inwreaths no genial flower?
Away, away, bewildering look,
Or all the boast of virtue's o'er;
Go--hie thee to the sage's book,
And learn from him to feel no more.
I cannot warn thee: every touch,
That brings my pulses close to thine,
Tells me I want thy aid as much--
Even more, alas, than thou dost mine.
Yet, stay,--one hope, one effort yet--
A moment turn those eyes a way,
And let me, if I can, forget
The light that leads my soul astray.
Thou sayest, that we were born to meet,
That our hearts bear one common seal;--
Think, Lady, think, how man's deceit
Can seem to sigh and feign to feel.
When, o'er thy face some gleam of thought,
Like daybeams through the morning air,
Hath gradual stole, and I have caught
The feeling ere it kindled there;
The sympathy I then betrayed,
Perhaps was but the child of art,
The guile of one, who long hath played
With all these wily nets of heart.
Oh! thine is not my earliest vow;
Though few the years I yet have told,
Canst thou believe I've lived till now,
With loveless heart or senses cold?
No--other nymphs to joy and pain
This wild and wandering heart hath moved;
With some it sported, wild and vain,
While some it dearly, truly, loved.
The cheek to thine I fondly lay,
To theirs hath been as fondly laid;
The words to thee I warmly say,
To them have been as warmly said.
Then, scorn at once a worthless heart,
Worthless alike, or fixt or free;
Think of the pure, bright soul thou art,
And--love not me, oh love not me.
Enough--now, turn thine eyes again;
What, still that look and still that sigh!
Dost thou not feel my counsel then?
Oh! no, beloved,--nor do I.
TO THE INVISIBLE GIRL.
They try to persuade me, my dear little sprite,
That you're not a true daughter of ether and light,
Nor have any concern with those fanciful forms
That dance upon rainbows and ride upon storms;
That, in short, you're a woman; your lip and your eye
As mortal as ever drew gods from the sky.
But I _will_ not believe them--no, Science, to you
I have long bid a last and a careless adieu:
Still flying from Nature to study her laws,
And dulling delight by exploring its cause,
You forget how superior, for mortals below,
Is the fiction they dream to the truth that they know.
Oh! who, that has e'er enjoyed rapture complete,
Would ask _how_ we feel it, or _why_ it is sweet;
How rays are confused, or how particles fly
Through the medium refined of a glance or a sigh;
Is there one, who but once would not rather have known it,
Than written, with Harvey, whole volumes upon it?
As for you, my sweet-voiced and invisible love,
You must surely be one of those spirits, that rove
By the bank where, at twilight, the poet reclines,
When the star of the west on his solitude shines,
And the magical fingers of fancy have hung
Every breeze with a sigh, every leaf with a tongue.
Oh! hint to him then, 'tis retirement alone
Can hallow his harp or ennoble its tone;
Like you, with a veil of seclusion between,
His song to the world let him utter unseen,
And like you, a legitimate child of the spheres,
Escape from the eye to enrapture the ears.
Sweet spirit of mystery! how I should love,
In the wearisome ways I am fated to rove,
To have you thus ever invisibly nigh,
Inhaling for ever your song and your sigh!
Mid the crowds of the world and the murmurs of care,
I might sometimes converse with my nymph of the air,
And turn with distaste from the clamorous crew,
To steal in the pauses one whisper from you.
Then, come and be near me, for ever be mine,
We shall hold in the air a communion divine,
As sweet as, of old, was imagined to dwell
In the grotto of Numa, or Socrates' cell.
And oft, at those lingering moments of night,
When the heart's busy thoughts have put slumber to flight,
You shall come to my pillow and tell me of love,
Such as angel to angel might whisper above.
Sweet spirit!--and then, could you borrow the tone
Of that voice, to my ear like some fairy-song known,
The voice of the one upon earth, who has twined
With her being for ever my heart and my mind,
Though lonely and far from the light of her smile,
An exile, and weary and hopeless the while,
Could you shed for a moment her voice on my ear.
I will think, for that moment, that Cara is near;
That she comes with consoling enchantment to speak,
And kisses my eyelid and breathes on my cheek,
And tells me the night shall go rapidly by,
For the dawn of our hope, of our heaven is nigh.
Fair spirit! if such be your magical power,
It will lighten the lapse of full many an hour;
And, let fortune's realities frown as they will,
Hope, fancy, and Cara may smile for me still.
_Annulus ille viri._
OVID. _"Amor." lib. ii. eleg. 15_.
The happy day at length arrived
When Rupert was to wed
The fairest maid in Saxony,
And take her to his bed.
As soon as morn was in the sky,
The feast and sports began;
The men admired the happy maid,
The maids the happy man.
In many a sweet device of mirth
The day was past along;
And some the featly dance amused,
And some the dulcet song.
The younger maids with Isabel
Disported through the bowers,
And decked her robe, and crowned her head
With motley bridal flowers.
The matrons all in rich attire,
Within the castle walls,
Sat listening to the choral strains
That echoed, through the halls.
Young Rupert and his friends repaired
Unto a spacious court,
To strike the bounding tennis-ball
In feat and manly sport.
The bridegroom on his finger wore
The wedding-ring so bright,
Which was to grace the lily hand
Of Isabel that night.
And fearing he might break the gem,
Or lose it in the play,
Hie looked around the court, to see
Where he the ring might lay.
Now, in the court a statue stood,
Which there full long had been;
It might a Heathen goddess be,
Or else, a Heathen queen.
Upon its marble finger then
He tried the ring to fit;
And, thinking it was safest there,
Thereon he fastened it.
And now the tennis sports went on,
Till they were wearied all,
And messengers announced to them
Their dinner in the hall,
Young Rupert for his wedding-ring
Unto the statue went;
But, oh, how shocked was he to find
The marble finger bent!
The hand was closed upon the ring
With firm and mighty clasp;
In vain he tried and tried and tried,
He could not loose the grasp!
Then sore surprised was Rupert's mind--
As well his mind might be;
"I'll come," quoth he, "at night again,
"When none are here to see."
He went unto the feast, and much
He thought upon his ring;
And marvelled sorely what could mean
So very strange a thing!
The feast was o'er, and to the court
He hied without delay,
Resolved to break the marble hand
And force the ring away.
But, mark a stranger wonder still--
The ring was there no more
And yet the marble hand ungrasped,
And open as before!
He searched the base, and all the court,
But nothing could he find;
Then to the castle hied he back
With sore bewildered mind.
Within he found them all in mirth,
The night in dancing flew:
The youth another ring procured,
And none the adventure knew.
And now the priest has joined their hands,
The hours of love advance:
Rupert almost forgets to think
Upon the morn's mischance.
Within the bed fair Isabel
In blushing sweetness lay,
Like flowers, half-opened by the
And waiting for the day.
And Rupert, by her lovely side,
In youthful beauty glows,
Like Phoebus, when he bends to cast
His beams upon a rose.
And here my song would leave them both,
Nor let the rest be told,
If 'twere not for the horrid tale
It yet has to unfold.
Soon Rupert, 'twixt his bride and him
A death cold carcass found;
He saw it not, but thought he felt
Its arms embrace him round.
He started up, and then returned,
But found the phantom still;
In vain he shrunk, it clipt him
With damp and deadly chill!
And when he bent, the earthy lips
A kiss of horror gave;
'Twas like the smell from charnel vaults,
Or from the mouldering grave!
Ill-fated Rupert!--wild and loud
Then cried he to his wife,
"Oh! save me from this horrid fiend,
"My Isabel! my life!"
But Isabel had nothing seen,
She looked around in vain;
And much she mourned the mad conceit
That racked her Rupert's brain.
At length from this invisible
These words to Rupert came:
(Oh God! while he did hear the words
What terrors shook his frame!)
"Husband, husband, I've the ring
"Thou gavest to-day to me;
"And thou'rt to me for ever wed,
"As I am wed to thee!"
And all the night the demon lay
Cold-chilling by his side,
And strained him with such deadly grasp,
He thought he should have died.
But when the dawn of day was near,
The horrid phantom fled,
And left the affrighted youth to weep
By Isabel in bed.
And all that day a gloomy cloud
Was seen on Rupert's brows;
Fair Isabel was likewise sad,
But strove to cheer her spouse.
And, as the day advanced, he thought
Of coming night with fear:
Alas, that he should dread to view
The bed that should be dear!
At length the second night arrived,
Again their couch they prest;
Poor Rupert hoped that all was o'er,
And looked for love and rest.
But oh! when midnight came, again
The fiend was at his side,
And, as it strained him in its grasp,
With howl exulting cried:--
"Husband, husband, I've the ring,
"The ring thou gavest to me;
"And thou'rt to me for ever wed,
"As I am wed to thee!",
In agony of wild despair,
He started from the bed;
And thus to his bewildered wife
The trembling Rupert said;
"Oh Isabel! dost thou not see
"A shape of horrors here,
"That strains me to its deadly kiss,
"And keeps me from my dear?"
"No, no, my love! my Rupert, I
"No shape of horrors see;
"And much I mourn the fantasy
"That keeps my dear from me."
This night, just like the night before,
In terrors past away.
Nor did the demon vanish thence
Before the dawn of day.
Said Rupert then, "My Isabel,
"Dear partner of my woe.
"To Father Austin's holy cave
"This instant will I go."
Now Austin was a reverend man,
Who acted wonders maint--
Whom all the country round believed
A devil or a saint!
To Father Austin's holy cave
Then Rupert straightway went;
And told him all, and asked him how
These horrors to prevent.
The father heard the youth, and then
Retired awhile to pray:
And, having prayed for half an hour
Thus to the youth did say:
"There is a place where four roads meet,
"Which I will tell to thee;
"Be there this eve, at fall of night,
"And list what thou shalt see.
"Thou'lt see a group of figures pass
"In strange disordered crowd,
"Travelling by torchlight through the roads,
"With noises strange and loud.
"And one that's high above the rest,
"Terrific towering o'er,
"Will make thee know him at a glance,
"So I need say no more.
"To him from me these tablets give,
"They'll quick be understood;
"Thou need'st not fear, but give them straight,
"I've scrawled them with my blood!"
The night-fall came, and Rupert all
In pale amazement went
To where the cross-roads met, as he
Was by the Father sent.
And lo! a group of figures came
In strange disordered crowd.
Travelling by torchlight through the roads,
With noises strange and loud.
And, as the gloomy train advanced,
Rupert beheld from far
A female form of wanton mien
High seated on a car.
And Rupert, as he gazed upon
The loosely-vested dame,
Thought of the marble statue's look,
For hers was just the same.
Behind her walked a hideous form,
With eyeballs flashing death;
Whene'er he breathed, a sulphured smoke
Came burning in his breath.
He seemed the first of all the crowd,
Terrific towering o'er;
"Yes, yes," said Rupert, "this is he,
"And I need ask no more."
Then slow he went, and to this fiend
The tablets trembling gave,
Who looked and read them with a yell
That would disturb the grave.
And when he saw the blood-scrawled name,
His eyes with fury shine;
"I thought," cries he, "his time was out,
"But he must soon be mine!"
Then darting at the youth a look
Which rent his soul with fear,
He went unto the female fiend,
And whispered in her ear.
The female fiend no sooner heard
Than, with reluctant look,
The very ring that Rupert lost,
She from her finger took.
And, giving it unto the youth,
With eyes that breathed of hell,
She said, in that tremendous voice,
Which he remembered well:
"In Austin's name take back the ring,
"The ring thou gavest to me;
"And thou'rt to me no longer wed,
"Nor longer I to thee."
He took the ring, the rabble past.
He home returned again;
His wife was then the happiest fair,
The happiest he of men.
 I should be sorry to think that my friend had any serious intentions
of frightening the nursery by this story; I rather hope--though the manner
of it leads me to doubt--that his design was to ridicule that distempered
taste which prefers those monsters of the fancy to the _"speciosa
miracula"_ of true poetic imagination.
TO .... ....
ON SEEING HER WITH A WHITE VEIL AND A RICH GIRDLE.
Put off the vestal Veil, nor, oh!
Let weeping angels View it;
Your cheeks belie its virgin snow.
And blush repenting through it.
Put off the fatal zone you wear;
The shining pearls around it
Are tears, that fell from Virtue there,
The hour when Love unbound it.
WRITTEN IN THE BLANK LEAF OF A LADY'S COMMONPLACE BOOK.
Here is one leaf reserved for me,
From all thy sweet memorials free;
And here my simple song might tell
The feelings thou must guess so well.
But could I thus, within thy mind,
One little vacant corner find,
Where no impression yet is seen,
Where no memorial yet hath been,
Oh! it should be my sweetest care
To _write my name_ for ever _there_!
TO MRS. BL----.
WRITTEN IN HER ALBUM.
They say that Love had once a book
(The urchin likes to copy you),
Where, all who came, the pencil took,
And wrote, like us, a line or two.
'Twas Innocence, the maid divine,
Who kept this volume bright and fair.
And saw that no unhallowed line
Or thought profane should enter there;
And daily did the pages fill
With fond device and loving lore,
And every leaf she turned was still
More bright than that she turned before.
Beneath the touch of Hope, how soft,
How light the magic pencil ran!
Till Fear would come, alas, as oft,
And trembling close what Hope began.
A tear or two had dropt from Grief,
And Jealousy would, now and then,
Ruffle in haste some snow-white leaf,
Which Love had still to smooth again.
But, ah! there came a blooming boy,
Who often turned the pages o'er,
And wrote therein such words of joy,
That all who read them sighed for more.
And Pleasure was this spirit's name,
And though so soft his voice and look,
Yet Innocence, whene'er he came,
Would tremble for her spotless book.
For, oft a Bacchant cup he bore,
With earth's sweet nectar sparkling bright;
And much she feared lest, mantling o'er,
Some drops should on the pages light.
And so it chanced, one luckless night,
The urchin let that goblet fall
O'er the fair book, so pure, so white,
And sullied lines and marge and all!
In vain now, touched with shame, he tried
To wash those fatal stains away;
Deep, deep had sunk the sullying tide,
The leaves grew darker everyday.
And Fancy's sketches lost their hue,
And Hope's sweet lines were all effaced,
And Love himself now scarcely knew
What Love himself so lately traced.
At length the urchin Pleasure fled,
(For how, alas! could Pleasure stay?)
And Love, while many a tear he shed,
Reluctant flung the book away.
The index now alone remains.
Of all the pages spoiled by Pleasure,
And though it bears some earthly stains,
Yet Memory counts the leaf a treasure.
And oft, they say, she scans it o'er,
And oft, by this memorial aided,
Brings back the pages now no more,
And thinks of lines that long have faded.
I know not if this tale be true,
But thus the simple facts are stated;
And I refer their truth to you,
Since Love and you are near related.
AFTER AN INTERVAL OF ABSENCE.
Concealed within the shady wood
A mother left her sleeping child,
And flew, to cull her rustic food,
The fruitage of the forest wild.
But storms upon her pathway rise,
The mother roams, astray and weeping;
Far from the weak appealing cries
Of him she left so sweetly sleeping.
She hopes, she fears; a light is seen,
And gentler blows the night wind's breath;
Yet no--'tis gone--the storms are keen,
The infant may be chilled to death!
Perhaps, even now, in darkness shrouded,
His little eyes lie cold and still;--
And yet, perhaps, they are not clouded,
Life and love may light them still.
Thus, Cara, at our last farewell,
When, fearful even thy hand to touch,
I mutely asked those eyes to tell
If parting pained thee half so much:
I thought,--and, oh! forgive the thought,
For none was e'er by love inspired
Whom fancy had not also taught
To hope the bliss his soul desired.
Yes, I _did_ think, in Cara's mind,
Though yet to that sweet mind unknown,
I left one infant wish behind,
One feeling, which I called my own.
Oh blest! though but in fancy blest,
How did I ask of Pity's care,
To shield and strengthen, in thy breast,
The nursling I had cradled there.
And, many an hour, beguiled by pleasure,
And many an hour of sorrow numbering,
I ne'er forgot the new-born treasure,
I left within thy bosom slumbering.
Perhaps, indifference has not chilled it,
Haply, it yet a throb may give--
Yet, no--perhaps, a doubt has killed it;
Say, dearest--_does_ the feeling live?