Verses Imitated from Du Moustier

Imitated from Du Moustier [1] 

Submit at length, poor struggling heart,
To drink the cold Lethean draught,
With every fond memorial part,
Tear from thy bleeding breast the shaft.
That bleeding breast, this weeping eye,5
The balm of peace shall then restore,
And thou may'st then forget to sigh,
And think of him so lov'd no more.
And must I think of him no more?
With trembling transport own his voice?10
Nor bless the joy-admitting door
Which opening bad my soul rejoice?
The morn no more shall see me rise
Eager to watch his hop'd return,
And stretch in vain my longing eyes,15
And all the day impatient mourn.
Must I no more expect him here,
And count the weary hours in sorrow,
And sigh as evening shades appear,
Hope whisp'ring still "he comes to-morrow?"20
Must I no more indulge the dreams
Which oft could solitude beguile?
Where seated by me yet he seems,
And fancy paints th'enchanting smile.
Must I, alas, no longer now25
Image delights where he appears?
And breathes for me the tender vow,
And marks with soften'd eye my tears.
Delusions, whose bewitching power
Supported oft my widow'd heart,30
And thou, who gladden'd sorrow's hour,
False, flattering Hope! with all I part.
But worse than every varied pain,
Than all the ills I suffer'd yet,
And sure the hardest to sustain35
Is the chill voice which says Forget.


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Verses Imitated from Du Moustier" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals) and is undated in Verses. It presents a loose verse translation of Charles Albert Demoustier's 28-line poem for Sappho (Lettre XLIII) in his Lettres à Émilie, sur la mythologie, 6 vols (1786-98), where Sappho declares “I will drink the icy waves / Which should erase forever / From my heart and my thoughts / The memory of my love”:

Je vais boire l'onde glacée
Qui doit effacer pour toujours
De mon coeur et de ma pensée
Le souvenir de mes amours.
Enfin, je braverai les armes5
Du cruel enfant de Vénus.
Je ne verserai plus de larmes.
Mais, hélas! je n'aimerai plus.
Je n'aimerai plus!.... Quoi! sa vue
Ne me fera plus tressaillir!10
Je l'entendrai sans être emué
Et sans frissonner de plaisir!
Quoi! mon coeur ne pourra plus même
Se figurer qu'il me sourit,
Qu'il est la, qu'il me dit: Je t'aime,15
Que je pleure, qu'il s'attendrit!
Je ne pourrai plus, sur la rive,
Les jours entiers l'attendre en vain;
Le soir m'en retourner pensive,
Et me dire: Il viendra demain!20
Adieu donc, espoir, rêverie,
Illusions, dont la douceur
M'aidait à supporter la vie
Et le veuvage de mon coeur.
Et toi, malgré les injustices25
Qu'à ce coeur tu fis essuyer,
Perfide, de mes sacrifices,
Le plus dur, c'est de t'oublier.