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Even still conflicting passions shake his soul, And bid him drain the dregs of pleasure's bowl;
But, pall'd with vice, he breaks his former chain,
And what was once his bliss appears his bane.
[To Harriet Maltby, who was 'cold, silent and reserved' on meeting the poet.] MARION, why that pensive brow? What disgust to life hast thou? Change that discontented air; Frowns become not one so fair. "T is not love disturbs thy rest, Love's a stranger to thy breast; He in dimpling smiles appears, Or mourns in sweetly timid tears, Or bends the languid eyelid down, But shuns the cold forbidding frown. Then resume thy former fire, Some will love, and all admire; While that icy aspect chills us, Nought but cool indifference thrills us. Wouldst thou wandering hearts beguile, Smile at least, or seem to smile. Eyes like thine were never meant To hide their orbs in dark restraint; Spite of all thou fain wouldst say, Still in truant beams they play. Thy lips but here my modest Muse Her impulse chaste must needs refuse: She blushes, curt'sies, frowns-in short she Dreads lest the subject should transport
Of soothing compliments divested,
Advice at least 's disinterested; .
Such is my artless song to thee,
From all the flow of flattery free;
Counsel like mine is as a brother's,
My heart is given to some others;
That is to say, unskill'd to cozen,
It shares itself among a dozen.
Marion, adieu! oh, pr'ythee slight not
And flying off in search of reason,
Brings prudence back in proper season.
All I shall therefore say (whate'er
I think, is neither here nor there)
Is, that such lips, of looks endearing,
Were form'd for better things than sneer-
This warning, though it may delight not;
And, lest my precepts be displeasing
To those who think remonstrance teasing,
At once I'll tell thee our opinion
Concerning woman's soft dominion:
Howe'er we gaze with admiration
On eyes of blue or lips carnation,
Howe'er the flowing locks attract us,
Howe'er those beauties may distract us,
Still fickle, we are prone to rove,
These cannot fix our souls to love:
It is not too severe a stricture
To say they form a pretty picture;
But wouldst thou see the secret chain
Which binds us in your humble train,
To hail you queens of all creation,
Know, in a word, 't is ANIMATION.
January 10, 1807.
TO A LADY
WHO PRESENTED TO THE AUTHOR A LOCK OF HAIR BRAIDED WITH HIS OWN, AND APPOINTED A NIGHT IN DECEMBER TO MEET HIM IN THE GARDEN
[This poem is addressed to the 'Mary' of the lines beginning, This faint resemblance of thy charms.']
THESE locks, which fondly thus entwine,
In firmer chains our hearts confine
Than all th' unmeaning protestations
Which swell with nonsense love orations.
Our love is fix'd, I think we've proved it,
Nor time, nor place, nor art have moved it;
Then wherefore should we sigh and whine,
With groundless jealousy repine,
With silly whims and fancies frantic,
Merely to make our love romantic?
Why should you weep like Lydia Languish,
And fret with self-created anguish ?
Or doom the lover you have chosen,
On winter nights to sigh half frozen;
In leafless shades to sue for pardon,
Only because the scene's a garden?
For gardens seem, by one consent
(Since Shakspeare set the precedent,
Since Juliet first declared her passion),
To form the place of assignation.
Oh! would some modern muse inspire,
And seat her by a sea-coal fire;
Or had the bard at Christmas written,
And laid the scene of love in Britain,
He surely, in commiseration,
Had changed the place of declaration.
In Italy I've no objection,
Warm nights are proper for reflection;
But here our climate is so rigid,
That love itself is rather frigid:
Think on our chilly situation,
And curb this rage for imitation.
Then let us meet, as oft we 've done,
Beneath the influence of the sun;
Or, if at midnight I must meet you,
Within your mansion let me greet you:
There we can love for hours together,
Much better, in such snowy weather,
Than placed in all th' Arcadian groves
That ever witness'd rural loves;
Then, if my passion fail to please,
Next night I'll be content to freeze;
No more I'll give a loose to laughter,
But curse my fate for ever after.