Landon in The Literary Gazette 1822/The Cup of Circe

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Poems (1822)
by Letitia Elizabeth Landon
Sketches from Designs by Mr. Dagley. Sketch the Third. The Cup of Circe.
2238871PoemsSketches from Designs by Mr. Dagley. Sketch the Third. The Cup of Circe.1822Letitia Elizabeth Landon


Literary Gazette, 10th August, 1822, Page 487


Sketches from Designs by Mr. Dagley.

Sketch the Third.


"All have drank of the cup of the enchantress."

She sat a crowned Queen—the ruby's light
Gleamed like a red star on the dark midnight
Amid her curls; but as they downward fell
To meet her ivory neck's luxuriant swell,
Some roses twined around the flowing hair—
Fair roses—yet her neck was far more fair:
They were in summer perfume, and they gave
Fresh fragrance forth at each light tress's wave.
Her cheek was crimson beauty, and her eye
Flashed light upon its varying brilliancy.
There was a spell in those dark eyes, and all
Bent joyfully beneath its radiant thrall:
Their power was on the heart. One white hand raised
A sparkling vase, where gold and opals blazed
Only less glorious than her starry eyes;
(How sweet the incensed breathings that arise
From that enchanted cup!) and she the while
Held the bright poison with a witching smile.
All gathered round. I marked a fair child stop
And kiss the purple bubbles from the top;
A white haired man, too, hung upon the brim—
Oh! that such pleasure should have charms for him
And by his side a girl, whose blue eyes, bent
On the seducer, looked too innocent
For passion's madness;—but love's soul was there—
And for young Love what will not woman dare!
There was a warrior—oh, the chain was sweet
That bound him prisoner to the Circe's feet:
He knelt and gazed upon her beauty; she
Smiled, and received his wild idolatry;
Then sighed that low sweet sigh, whose tender tone
Is witching, from its echo of our own.
The Painter's skill has seized a moment where
Her hand is wreathing mid his raven hair;

And he is bent in worship, as that touch,
That soft light touch, were ecstasy too much.
He is just turned from that bewildering face
To the fair arm that holds the magic vase—
The purple liquor is just sparkling up—
The youth has pledged his heart's truth on that cup!

L. E. L.