Poem – To Lesbia

Lesbia! since far from you I’ve ranged,

Our souls with fond affection glow not;

You say ’tis I, not you, have changed,

I’d tell you why,–but yet I know not.
Your polish’d brow no cares have crost;

And, Lesbia! we are not much older,

Since, trembling, first my heart I lost,

Or told my love, with hope grown bolder
Sixteen was then our utmost age,

Two years have lingering past away, love!

And now new thoughts our minds engage,

At least I feel disposed to stray, love!
‘Tis I that am alone to blame,

I, that am guilty of love’s treason;

Since your sweet breast is still the same,

Caprice must be my only reason.
I do not, love! suspect your truth,

With jealous doubt my bosom heaves not;

Warm was the passion of my youth,

One trace of dark deceit it leaves not.
No, no, my flame was not pretended,

For, Oh! I loved you most sincerely;

And–though our dream at last is ended–

My bosom still esteems you dearly.
No more we meet in yonder bowers;

Absence has made me prone to roving;

But older, firmer hearts than ours

Have found monotony in loving.
Your cheek’s soft bloom is unimpeair’d,

New beauties still are daily bright’ning,

Your eye for conquest beams prepared,

The forge of love’s resistless lightning.
Arm’d thus, to make their bosoms bleed,

Many will throng to sigh like me, love!

More constant they may prove, indeed;

Fonder, alas! they ne’er can be, love! 

Poem – To George Earl Delwarr 

Oh! yes, I will own we were dear to each other;

The friendships of childhood, though fleeting are true;

The love which you felt was the love of a brother,

Nor less the affection I cherish’d for you.
But Friendship can vary her gentle dominion;

The attachment of years in a moment expires:

Like Love, too, she moves on a swift-waving pinion,

But glows not, like Love, with unquenchable fires.
Full oft have we wander’d through Ida together,

And blest were the scenes of our youth, I allow:

In the spring of our life, how serene is the weather!

But winter’s rude tempests are gathering now.
No more with affection shall memory blending,

The wonted delights of our childhood retrace:

When pride steels the bosom, the heart is unbending,

And what would be Justice appears a disgrace.
However, dear George, for I still must esteem you;

The few whom I love I can never upbraid:

The chance which has lost may in future redeem you,

Repentance will cancel the vow you have made.
I will not complain, and though chill’d is affection,

With me no corroding resentment shall live:

My bosom is calm’d by the simple reflection,

That both may be wrong, and that both should forgive.
You knew that my soul, that my heart, my existence,

If danger demanded, were wholly your own.

You knew me unalter’d by years or by distance

Devoted to love and to friendship alone.
You knew – but away with the vain retropection!

The bond of affection no longer endures;

Too late you may droop o’er the fond recollection,

And sigh for the friend who was formerly yours.
For the present, we part,–I will hope not for ever;

For time and regret will restore you at last:

To forget our dimension we both should endeavour,

I ask no atonement, but days like the past. 

Poem – To Florence 

Oh Lady! when I left the shore,

The distant shore which gave me birth,

I hardly thought to grieve once more

To quit another spot on earth:
Yet here, amidst this barren isle, 

Where panting Nature droops the head,

Where only thou art seen to smile,

I view my parting hour with dread.
Though far from Albin’s craggy shore,

Divided by the dark?blue main; 

A few, brief, rolling seasons o’er,

Perchance I view her cliffs again:
But wheresoe’er I now may roam,

Through scorching clime, and varied sea, 

Though Time restore me to my home,

I ne’er shall bend mine eyes on thee:
On thee, in whom at once conspire

All charms which heedless hearts can move,

Whom but to see is to admire, 

And, oh! forgive the word – to love.
Forgive the word, in one who ne’er

With such a word can more offend;

And since thy heart I cannot share,

Believe me, what I am, thy friend.
And who so cold as look on thee,

Thou lovely wand’rer, and be less?

Nor be, what man should ever be,

The friend of Beauty in distress?
Ah! who would think that form had past

Through Danger’s most destructive path

Had braved the death?wing’d tempest’s blast,

And ‘scaped a tyrant’s fiercer wrath?
Lady! when I shall view the walls

Where free Byzantium once arose,

And Stamboul’s Oriental halls

The Turkish tyrants now enclose;
Though mightiest in the lists of fame,

That glorious city still shall be;

On me ’twill hold a dearer claim,

As spot of thy nativity:
And though I bid thee now farewell,

When I behold that wondrous scene,

Since where thou art I may not dwell,

‘Twill soothe to be where thou hast been.
September 1809. 

To A Child – Francis Thompson

Whenas my life shall time with funeral tread

The  heavy death-drum of the beaten hours,

Following, sole mourner, mine own manhood dead,

Poor forgot corse, where not a maid strows flowers;

When I you love am no more I you love,

But go with unsubservient feet, behold

Your dear face through changed eyes, all grim change prove;–

A new man, mock-ed with misname of old;

When shamed Love keep his ruined lodging, elf!

When, ceremented in mouldering memory,

Myself is hears-ed underneath myself,

And I am but the monument of me:-

O to that tomb be tender then, which bears

Only the name of him it sepulchres!