Poems of Letitia Elizabeth Landon in Friendship's Offering, 1828/Venus

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The following plate is missing from the digital copy of this book on the internet.

VIII. Venus taking a Bow from a Sleeping Cupid; engraved by
W. T. Fry, from a group of Sculpture, by Smith, a
pupil of F. Chantrey, R. A.; exhibited at Somerset
House in 1827 .................................................188


VENUS

TAKING THE BOW FROM A SLEEPING CUPID.


Queen of smiles! fling down the bow:
Hearts are, like thine own hand, snow.
Love is sleeping, and in vain
You would waken him again;
And that bow’s no more divine,
Even in such a hand as thine.
Smile thy smile,—and sigh thy sigh,
Both will pass unheeded by.
—Out upon our heartless age!
Stain upon the poet’s page!
Now, the sweetest kiss and smile
Barter for their gift the while;
And the lover’s heart is sold
For, what is not worth it, gold.
Once, there was more stirring time
Chronicled in minstrel rhyme,
When the young knight onwards prest,
For the colours of his crest;
When it was enough to say,
Bright eyes watch your course to day;
When the maiden kept her faith
Like a thing of life and death;

When the true heart wont to prove,
Not to only say,—I love.
Where hath history such a page
As of that chivalric age?

Can it be, I have gainsaid,
What my lute’s religion made?
Have I said, that Love was cold?
Said, that faith was bought and sold?
Now, shame on the poet’s song
Which could do his creed such wrong!
Yes, Love! by the burning cheek,
Blushes which thy language speak,
By the after paler sign,
Which doth tell of hope’s decline;
By the drooped or flashing eye,
By the rose-lip’s lonely sigh,
(These are tokens still we see!)
Tell they not, oh Love! of thee?
I should say, that still thou art,
Judging but from mine own heart.
Oh yes! spite of chance or change,
Worthless vanities that range,
Golden bribe, and worldly stain,
Smile and sigh still hold their reign.
Love of old ruled but as now—
Queen of Beauty! take the bow.

L. E. L.