Recreations for Solitary Hours
On Passing a Beautiful Young Lady
On Passing a Beautiful Young Lady.
Why thus I start? impress'd with inward awe,
Why in a sudden palpitates my heart?
Why thus I muse?—Can I believe mine eyes?
Or can it be a vision I behold,
Thus purposely presented, to divert
My mind from brooding o'er distracting cares?
A moment since, I grieved o'er adverse fate,
But now my grief to wonder is transformed!
I stand—I gaze—I wonder if 'tis true,
An angel has assumed an earthly garb—
If not—this lady certainly must be
The fairest of the fair,"—and Nature has
Her beauties lavished on her lovely form,
The semblance of angelic gracefulness.
But why in doubt ecstatic am I held?
Ye Angels! will ye answer what I ask,—
Is this your sister,—from your circles sent
Her sex with all your graces to adorn?
Her person, see, how handsome—shoulders round—
page 56 With gracile waist—and bosom's gentle swell—
While shapely ankles—well-proportion'd feet,
Shown as with graceful pace erect she walks—
Concord most happily, which declares the Nymph
In Nature's loveliest workmanship complete.
And how inspiring are her rosy charms!
Surpassing art's deceit. Away! ye painters vain;—
Can ye with all your arts and finest pinks
Your aspects gild with such simplicity,
As fainly ye'd renew youth's parted bloom?
No!—no comparison can e'er be borne
With Nature's tinctures,—for sweet elegance
Adorns th' angelic features of her face,—
A fair complexion lit with heav'nly smiles,
With roseate cheeks, fresh as the new blown rose
In dewy morn,- and with a dimple graced.
Her soft blue eyes, sweet modesty bespeak,
Yet pierce the soul like darts from Cupid's bow.
Smooth is her lip, clear, red as cherries ripe,
Whose thinness ornaments her beauteous bloom.
Her neck, how clean, and white as mountain snow,
Or like the whitest marble's polished sheen,
Reflecting bright the glory of the sun.
page 57 While from her temples fair brown ringlets flow,
Reflecting soft the rose bloom of her cheek.
What harmony exists in every charm,
Concording all to captivate the soul!
Could Hero boast of such, who much inspired
Leander's fortitude, each night to swim
Across the Hellesppnt t' enjoy her loves?
Or could Helena, the sad bane of Troy,
Outvie this Nymph, whose name I cannot tell?
No! beauty here with chastity most pure,
Thus blended dignifies her graceful airs.
Oh, Venus! hast thou now resigned thy charms
To this fair Queen?—Or is it thou thyself
Whom I behold?—I'm sunk in deep suspense.
Oh! had I strength, herself t' interrogate,
Of lineage, nature, and her native clime,
'Twould from my mind much pest'ring doubt erase;—
Or with her company were I ever blest,
How 'twould substantialize all fancied bliss!
Ah! cruel Clotho, dost thou pleasure take
In thy deep disregard for helpless me?
page 58 Dost thou desire to tempt my am'rous soul,
With what thou'st sworn I never should enjoy?—
Was I a lord possest of great estates,
And she an humble cottager obscure,
With nought to recommend her, but her charms
And native innocence, then would she be
My sole delight,—exalted bosom friend,—
Partaker of my happiness and joys.
But ah! this blissful contrast is not mine,
A benefaction Fortune deems too high
To grant to such a swain. Though Fortune frown,
And scorn to bless my bosom with herself,
One priv'lege yet remains she can't distort;—
Though rolling seas and continents divide,
My soul her image deep impress'd shall wear.
Ye guardian Angels, o'er your tender charge
Be circumspect, her carefully attend
And let no evil e'er belay her steps;
Be ye the porters of her temple-gate,
With boldness all intruders to repel
As robbers of its splendour. Oh! be proof
'Gainst Flattery's wiles, so various and abstruse;
As 'neath the mask of Friendship, still she bears
page 59 Her implements to work her deep designs,—
The Queen of all her glory to divest.
Be ever round her throne; to her insure
The happiness and true tranquillity
Of her dominions. Her palace so enriched
With decorations of the highest taste,
Preserve with care from premature decay:
Though time advance with all his train of ills,
O'er her domains to wage resistless war,—
Oh! Powers supernal, give your aid divine
To help to bear up 'gainst the invading foe!—
But should her citadel be overthrown,
Ye angels come, and on your posting wings
With all your might bear high your sister Queen,
To heavenly realms of immortality,
To wear the crown of glory, and be clothed
With robes of righteousness;—and tune the lyre
To sing triumphant victory o'er Time,
Proclaiming Hallelujahs to the Lamb!