“BEAUTY reclin’d beneath the shade;
Blooming Health before her play’d;
Her golden tresses kissed the wind.
Meek Content, with placid mind,
Her wreath of fadeless flowers entwin’d.
Peace and Virtue join’d the round;
Innocence their fav’rite crown’d;
Youth’s bright fire illum’d her eye,
And gave her cheeks their vermeil dye.
Sudden strange thoughts attack her rest,
Perplexing visions pain her breast;
The chains of Morpheus burst in twain,
And Love approach’d with glitt’ring train.
Beauty waking, gaz’d around;
Cupid, laughing, kiss’d the ground:
“”Fairest virgin, haste away,
Come with me to joyful day;
Sleep no more in realms of night,
Come with me and taste delight;
Refuse me not-my name is Love,
Fav’rite of the gods above.
Fairest maid, then haste away,
And come with me to joyous day!””
He said, and slily strung his bow,
The arrow sought to hide:
A wither’d hand receives the blow,
And turns the dart aside.
‘Twas Age the timely freedom took.
Cupid stamp’d with frowning look.
Age regardless pass’d him by,
On Beauty gaz’d, and heav’d a sigh.
“”Virgin, shun your treach’rous guide;
I once was fair like you:
Love from me in vain would hide-
His joys are most untrue.””
The maiden sigh’d as Age went on:
“”I tell thee, life is quickly gone;
Pale Experience robs the scene
Of Fancy’s fadeless evergreen,
Steals the lamp of Love away,
And shews if cloth’d in sober grey.
Love, disgusted, stays no more,
Spreads his wings, and flies fourscore.
Think, oh, think! that youthful bloom,
Waits not even for the tomb!
Time will dim those lust’rous eyes;
The dart of Death resistless flies:
Turn, fair daughter, and be wise!
All is misery, grief, and shame,
Pleasure lives not but in name.
Trust me, Love is mere deceit-
Snakes, not roses, ‘twine his feet;
“”Pain, not Pleasure, is his guest,
Jealousy, by furies nurs’d,
Dark Revenge, with bloody crest,
Gall-fill’d Envy, nearly burst,
Black Suspicion’s basilisk eye,
Sharp-tooth’d Slander’s cunning lie,
Foaming Rage, and grinning Spite,
Mischief sly, that shuns the light.
Pleasure! ’tis a term for folly,
Ending soon in melancholy;
Sad repentance keeps her side,
And blushing shame, that fain would hide.
Hope no joy, then, meets you there,
But, plunging in a sea of care,
Nothing, nothing but despair.
“”Fare thee well! my power must end;
I give the warning of a friend-
My time expires-no more I dare.””-
Then mingled with th’ absorbent air.
Pensive Beauty gaz’d around;
Her cheeks were wet with tears;
And thus, with trembling dew-trops crown’d,
The morning rose appears.
Love in grief now sidelong turn’d,
His zealous heart with fury burn’d,
His drooping wings despondent hung,
And useless bow was backward flung;
But yet, resolv’d his power to try,
With sweet persuasion in each eye,
Once more his bloomy lips divide,
While countless dimples laugh beside:
“”Weep no more, fair-bosom’d maid,
Those eyes are not for tears to shade!
Frosty Age no pleasure knows-
Youth and Age have long been foes;
The leafless tree again shall bloom,
But Age is beauty’s final tomb;
Chearless Winter’s ice-clad brow
Relaxes in young Summer’s glow,
But Age no second spring can know.
Come then, fairest, come with me,
Mirth and smiles shall wait on thee!””
He mark’d young Beauty’s heaving breast,
And eyes that all her soul confess’d-
Saw their bright’ning beams displace
The clouds that erst o’erspread her face,
While sparkling tears no more remain
Than dew-drops on the sunny plain.
Cupid’s graceful wings rose high-
He bade his dang’rous train come nigh.
Swift the glitt’ring throng advance,
Twining in a mystic dance:
Rapture, Hope, fond Doubt, and Joy
Kneel before the Cyprian boy;
Pleasure led the jocund rear,
Smiling arch with wanton leer;
Her master’s beck she ran to meet,
Poppies springing ‘neath her feet.
Soft he seiz’d her polish’d arm;
Scarce the nymph conceal’d a charm;
Poppies crown’d her raven hair
Which wanton’d o’er her shoulders fair;
Ringlets ‘twin’d her vaulted brow,
And sought to hide her breast of snow;
Seduction lurk’d in every sigh,
And fascination in her eye.
Beauty blush’d, her gaze withdrew,
Nor durst the shameless syren view.
Her right hand held a blooming wreath,
But many thorns were hid beneath;
Her left, a polish’d glass display’d,
Through which appear’d a sunny glade;
Beyond, serene the ocean curl’d,
And show’d a trembling, wat’ry world:
There, stretch’d a plain of smoothest green,
Where many serpents lurk’d unseen;
And roseate bowers allur’d the eye,
Where ambush’d Treach’ry deep did lie.
Reclining here, beneath the shade
Sleeps a languid, half-dress’d maid;
There, a youth, whose varying cheek,
Seems disorder to bespeak;
Some painful dream disturbs his rest,
And heaves with sighs his lab’ring breast.
He sees, perhaps, the visions fade
Which erst his wand’ring feet betray’d.
Joining in the noisy rout,
What listless numbers dance about!
There, Laughter and her revel throng
Shake the air with clam’rous song,
While some contemn the outrag’d day,
And dream their sickly lives away.
Strange, such delusion should have charms
To lure fresh victims to her arms!
Yet Beauty gaz’d and gaz’d again,
While Pleasure mark’d her struggling pain.
So the fell snake attracts the eye,
Then bids the wretch entangled die.
And now her silver voice essay’d
At once to fix the varying maid:
“”See,”” she cried, with magic grace,
“”Gaze on yon enchanting place!
Charms not thee their airy sport?
There live the vassals of my court:
Thou shalt be the fairest there,
Their idol and their only care.
Anxious now they wait thy charms-
Shall I waft thee to their arms?””
Deluded Beauty eager gaz’d,
Half her sylph-like form she rais’d;
When lo! a noble youth she spied,
Who hung his head and deeply sigh’d.
Pale was his check, yet softest grace
Illumin’d his dejected face;
Beauteous dimples watch’d his smile,
The sense to seize, the heart to guile.
The fair one gaz’d, forgot the snare,
And left her guardless bosom bare.
Watching Cupid seiz’d his dart,
And shot triumphant through her heart!
Swift poison tingled in her veins,
Her breast throbb’d wild with nameless pains:
The more she look’d, the more she fir’d,
Nor knew ’twas LOVE her soul inspir’d.
Sudden she caught the wand’rer’s eye;
His cheeks assum’d a crimson dye,
His glance was fierce, impassion’d high;
Dissolv’d he seem’d in amorous fire,
Yielding his soul to soft desire.
Eager with love he view’d the fair,
Stretching his arms on vacant air;
Then kneeling, trembling, kiss’d the ground-
Tho’ conqueror, seem’d a captive bound.
She rose, in brilliant blushes drest,
Reclin’d her head on Pleasure’s breast;
Falt’ring whisper’d, “”I am thine-
Take me, goddess, to thy shrine!””
Pleasure arch at Cupid smil’d,
He laugh’d to see the maid beguil’d.
Each seiz’d an hand. Oh, Reason, mourn!
Beauty by Love and Pleasure borne!
With their gods the pageant train
Rose, dazzling visions, false and vain;
But Beauty’s train hung low the head,
Nor follow’d where the meteors led.
She, sailing joyful on the wind,
Leaving irradiant Truth behind,
Is wafted to that fatal shore
Where Virtue sinks “”to rise no more.””
More Poetry from harlotte Dacre):harlotte Dacre) Poems based on Topics: Sadness, Love, Mind, Death & Dying, Cry, Fairness, Life, Light, Hope, World, Pain
- The Skeleton Priest; Or, The Marriage Of Death (Charlotte Dacre Poems)
- The Exile. (Charlotte Dacre Poems)
- Death And The Lady (Charlotte Dacre Poems)
- The Poor Negro Sadi (Charlotte Dacre Poems)
- Moorish Combat (Charlotte Dacre Poems)
- The Elfin King; Or, The Scoffer Punished (Charlotte Dacre Poems)
Readers Who Like This Poem Also Like:Based on Topics: Love Poems, God Poems, Life Poems, World Poems, Night Poems, Light Poems, Mind Poems, Sadness Poems, Time Poems, Death & Dying Poems, Faces Poems
Based on Keywords: slily, entwin, falt, assum, attracts, illum, throbb, allur, bloomy, perplexing, impassion