THE KISS

THE KISS [1] 

Oh Florence! dearest Love! I have bid thee then Adieu!
And all my hopes and pleasures thy parting steps pursue,
Yet something love has gain'd to cheer me tho' we part
And the kiss he [2]  then allow'd me still thrills upon my heart:
Oh yet methinks I see thee as on that fatal day5
When my faltering lips refus'd the last farewell to say;
Love whisper'd to my hopes as thine hand I trembling held
That its soft and gentle pressure kind sympathy reveal'd,
While Memory, delighted each image to retrace,
Recalls each varied look of that mild expressive face;10
Each word that there was utter'd, most forcibly imprest
With the accent, and the voice seem graven on my breast;
Yet beams upon my soul that soft enchanting glance,
As pensive and alone she saw me first advance;
I see the dew of Love just glisten in her eye,15
And her bosom gently swell with the stifled, tender sigh:
Oh rapture breathing sigh! inestimable tear!
Which first could whisper hope that to Florence I was dear.
Oh! moment still most priz'd, that embolden'd me to seek
With lips too fondly daring her half averted cheek!20
The sweet electric force which shot thro' every nerve
In fond remembrance cherish'd I carefully preserve;
Yet half afraid I view the anger and surprise
Which arm'd with transient light'ning the lustre of her eyes;
I see the mantling roses yet glow upon her face,25
The deep celestial blush that doubl'd every grace;
Not half I priz'd the treasure thus snatched with trembling joy,
'Till tenderness return'd to her pardon-beaming eye;
Nor vain was my repentance that bad her anger cease
And bless her sorrowing lover, and let him part in peace:30
I see the tender smile, & still methinks I feel
That hand so soft extended my pardon bid to seal;
The orders to depart Oh! yet too well I hear,
And the cruel word farewell still vibrates in my ear,
That pause of silent sorrow, that look of parting love,35
From my heart the dear ideas Ah never can remove!
Oh Florence thou art gone! to see thee now no more
I watch with fond impatience thy lov'd, propitious door;
Yet thine image still is here, it soothes me as I mourn,
And smiles as thou, my Florence! wilt smile on thy return.40
It looks with that complacence which thou wert wont to shew,
And rich is blest remembrance kind pictures to bestow,
It paints the future prospects with Hope's most brilliant hue
And tells me that my Florence will evermore be true.

Notes

[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "The Kiss" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals) and is not dated in Verses but was probably written during the late 1790s or early 1800s when Tighe was exchanging "The Kiss" and other poems with Thomas Moore. See Tighe's "The Kiss. Imitated from Voiture" in volume two of Verses, which Moore praises in his response poem "To Mrs. ----. On Her Beautiful Translation of Voiture's Kiss" in The Poetical Works of the Late Thomas Little (1801), which contains another two poems titled "The Kiss." BACK

[2] EDITOR'S NOTE: "He" refers to love. BACK

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