The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 1/To a Beautiful Quaker

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TO A BEAUTIFUL QUAKER.[1]

Sweet girl! though only once we met,
That meeting I shall ne'er forget;
And though we ne'er may meet again,
Remembrance will thy form retain;
I would not say, "I love," but still,
My senses struggle with my will:
In vain to drive thee from my breast,
My thoughts are more and more represt;
In vain I check the rising sighs,
Another to the last replies:
Perhaps, this is not love, but yet,
Our meeting I can ne'er forget.


What, though we never silence broke,
Our eyes a sweeter language spoke;
The tongue in flattering falsehood deals,
And tells a tale it never feels:
Deceit, the guilty lips impart,
And hush the mandates of the heart;
But soul's interpreters, the eyes,
Spurn such restraint, and scorn disguise.
As thus our glances oft convers'd,
And all our bosoms felt rehears'd,
No spirit from within, reprov'd us,
Say rather, "'twas the spirit mov'd us."
Though, what they utter'd, I repress,
Yet I conceive thou'lt partly guess
For as on thee, my memory ponders,
Perchance to me, thine also wanders.
This, for myself, at least, I'll say,
Thy form appears through night, through day;
Awake, with it my fancy teems,
In sleep, it smiles in fleeting dreams;
The vision charms the hours away,
And bids me curse Aurora's ray
For breaking slumbers of delight,
Which make me wish for endless night.
Since, oh! whate'er my future fate,
Shall joy or woe my steps await;
Tempted by love, by storms beset,
Thine image, I can ne'er forget.


Alas! again no more we meet,
No more our former looks repeat;
Then, let me breathe this parting prayer,
The dictate of my bosom's care:
"May Heaven so guard my lovely quaker.
That anguish never can o'ertake her;
That peace and virtue ne'er forsake her,
But bliss be aye her heart's partaker!
Oh! may the happy mortal, fated[2]
To be, by dearest ties, related,
For her each hour, new joys discover,[3]
And lose the husband in the lover!
May that fair bosom never know
What 'tis to feel the restless woe,
Which stings the soul, with vain regret,
Of him, who never can forget!"

1806.


  1. ["Whom the author saw at Harrowgate."—Annotated copy of P. on V, Occasions, p. 64 (British Museum).]
  2. The Quarto inserts the following lines:—

    "No jealous passion shall invade
    No envy that pure heart pervade;"
    For he that revels in such charms
    Can never seek another's arms.

  3. —— new joy discover.—[4to]