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Introductory Lines to Book the Second.
RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LADY
BEFORE HER MARRIAGE.
Fair girl, whose very name to me
Recalls that earliest dream of love, Now fixed into a memory
That points like spires above ;I love to think her name is thine,
Fair girl, and I at times can trace
On thy yet fairer face.
Their flowers—shall they too wither?--strew; Thy lot hath all that worldlings prize,
And her lot never knew.
Thou enterest on a stage, in sooth,
Which few so fair unscathed may tread, And pardon, when it notes thy youth,
Delight if dimm’d with dread.
How well—how well, when yet a boy,
I saw it rise I can recall An orb of glory and of joy,
Of which thyself but saw the fall. What form wore love so lovelily ?
Hers was the Virgin-mother's air ! And in her brow-and calmest eye
How brightly slept the angel there!
Almost too glorious for desire;
Tamed all that Passion meant to fire.
The Dawn star ? ---fallen from its skies ! And apter Vice and craftier Folly,
Where nobler Natures weep—despise. And Fashion smiles upon the crime,
But frowns in wrath on the revealing ; And nought-save Silence, Memory, Time,
Are hers, to whom a world was kneeling! Ah! doth the sin deserve the sting
To gorge all Malice with her shame? And feel her glory grown a thing
That Fops affect a scorn to claim ?
And Thou, fair lady of my line,
Sweet Namesake of my heart's recorded, Thou, too, art doom’d at least to shine
Where nought save Art can be rewarded. In that false world to which thou 'rt chained,
Who sins not, is too tame to reign ; And Custom in an hour hath gained,
What Vice for aye had stormed in vain. And duller-colder sins shall mar
The gloss upon thy spirit’s pinion ; This sorcerer World but makes the star
It most invokes, the most its minion. And all the pleasures which possess thee But dim thy heart while they caress thee ;And Truth will lose her virgin beauty ;And Art shall mould itself to Duty ;And all that Fashion bids thee follow Leave Love forsworn and Friendship hollow. I would not meet thee when some years Have taught thy heart how folly sears, And trifles now so tempting frittered Away the youth they but embittered, When all our fancies most adore, Cling round that joyous form no more, When the still graces of the cheek Forget the soul's soft tale to speak. Nor would we seek to learn that tale, Nor court the coy thought from its veil,