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Are you to wait till you’re of age %
Or are you to be his to-morrow?
Or do they bid you, in their scorn,
Your pure and sinless flame to smother ?
Is he so very meanly born ?
Or are you married to another?
Whate'er you are, at last, adieu !
I think it is your bounden duty
To let the rhymes I coin for you,
Be prized by all who prize your beauty.
From you I seek nor gold nor fame;
Prom you I fear no cruel strictures;
I wish some girls that I could name
Were half as silent as their pictures'
“And none did love him—not his lemans dear.”—Byron.
No mistress of the hidden skill,
No wizard gaunt and grim,
Went up by night to heath or hill
To read the stars for him ;
The merriest girl in all the land
Of vine-encircled France
Bestowed upon his brow and hand
Her philosophic glance:
“I bind thee with a spell,” said she,
“I sign thee with a sign;
No woman's love shall light on thee,
No woman’s heart be thine!
“And trust me, ’tis not that thy cheek
Is colourless and cold;
Nor that thine eye is slow to speak
What only eyes have told :
For many a cheek of paler white
Hath blushed with passion's kiss,
And many an eye of lesser light
Hath caught its fire from bliss;
Yet while the rivers seek the sea,
And while the young stars shine,
No woman's love shall light on thee,_
No woman’s heart be thine !
“And 'tis not that thy spirit, awed
By Beauty’s numbing spell,
Shrinks from the force or from the fraud
Which Beauty loves so well;
For thou hast learned to watch, and wake,
And swear by earth and sky;
And thou art very bold to take
What we must still deny :
I cannot tell ;--the charm was wrought
By other threads than mine;
The lips are lightly begged or bought,
The heart may not be thine !
“Yet thine the brightest smiles shall be
That ever Beauty wore;
And confidence from two or three,
And compliments from more;
And one shall give—perchance hath given---
What only is not love, -
Friendship, oh! such as Saints in Heaven
Rain on us from above :
If she shall meet thee in the bower,
Or name thee in the shrine,
O wear the ring and guard the flower!
Her heart may not be thine !
“Go, set thy boat before the blast,
Thy breast before the gun ;
The haven shall be reached at last,
The battle shall be won :
Or muse upon thy country’s laws,
Or strike thy country’s lute;
And patriot hands shall sound applause,
And lovely lips be mute.
Go, dig the diamond from the wave,
The treasure from the mine;
Enjoy the wreath, the gold, the grave, --
No woman's heart is thine !
“I charm thee from the agony
Which others feel or feign;
From anger, and from jealousy,
From doubt, and from disdain;
I bid thee wear the scorn of years
Upon the cheek of youth,
And curl the lip at Passion’s tears,
And shake the head at truth :
While there is bliss in revelry,
Forgetfulness in wine,
Be thou from woman’s love as free
As woman is from thine !”
WE did not meet in courtly hall,
Where Birth and Beauty throng,
Where Luxury holds festival,
And wit awakes the song;
We met where darker spirits meet,
In the home of Sin and Shame,
Where Satan shows his cloven feet,
And hides his titled name;
And she knew she could not be, Love,
What once she might have been,
But she was kind to me, Love,
My pretty Josephine.
We did not part beneath the sky,
As warmer lovers part,
Where Night conceals the glistening eye,
But not the throbbing heart;
We parted on the spot of ground
Where we first had laughed at love,
And ever the jests were loud around,
And the lamps were bright above:
“The heaven is very dark, Love,
The blast is very keen,
But merrily rides my bark, Love—
Good night, my Josephine!”
She did not speak of ring or vow,
But filled the cup of wine,
And took the roses from her brow
To make a wreath for mine;
And bade me, when the gale should lift
My light skiff o'er the wave, -
To think as little of the gift
As of the hand that gave :
“Go gayly o'er the sea, Love,
And find your own heart's queen;
And look not back to me, Tove,
Your humble Josephine !”
That garland breathes and blooms no more,
Past are those idle hours;
I would not, could I choose, restore