“She was not beautiful, if bloom
And smiles form beauty—for, like death,
Her brown was ghastly.”

Those veering thoughts which toss thy labouring mind,
Lost in its own dark agony, are sad,
And form a pit’ous wreck from what they feed on,
  In youth’s short morning.

Thine the fate of hearts, tender, kind, possessing
All the warmth that pure, gentlest love inspires,
Till by some stroke ungenerously severe,
  They fall and languish. [Page 186]

Lately I’ve seen thy full buoyancy of soul,
Playful and free, as mountain-sylph or fawn,
Ere pain, or anxious care thy thoughts estranged,
  Or sorrow found thee.

But, alas! the shifting scene has left a trace—
A trace too eloquent of lasting woes,
In which we read misfortune’s dark impression,
  Fixed, indelible.  

That cheek, on which youth’s loveliest bloom has played,
And brow, whose radiance might have fully vied
Still with the most boasted of the eastern fair,
  Have lost their sweetness.

All the winning cheerfulness of thy young heart,
And blushing tints which beauty round thee flung—
Like flow’rs fading away in their sweet odours—
  Fast yield to decay. [Page 187]

And, like the lone hermit, in his dungeon’d cell*
Where one bright ray of heav’n’s light ne’er enters,
Wrapp’d in the solitude of his working thoughts—
  Still Memory shines,

And gives to other days their happiest hue—
Till, at reflection’s call, his heart looks back,
And shows him what he was, is, and soon must be—
  The very jest of fate.

Thus, in the gloom of thine own imaginings,
Thou pond’rest o’er bright days, and happy hours,
Gone by, no more to cheer life’s tedious round,
  Or smooth thy pathway.

But—mildest, fairest—for yet thou still art fair—
Had beauty, and all virtue can bestow,
Been proof ’gainst ev’ry ill, thou hadst stood unhurt,
  Beneath life’s pressure! [Page 188]

* OVID very properly terms ‘darkness,’ Maximanutrix curarum. [back]