a Riddle [1] 

Timid in perpetual bonds, a faithful pair,
Our mutual aid we to each other lend,
Bright are our forms, and equal powers we share,
And still our efforts to one purpose tend;
From baneful jealousy is ever free5
The close connexion of our wedded fame,
Tho' oft each other's mystic ring we see
Clasp the white finger of some lovely dame.
Should any dare to interpose between,
Tho' torn asunder in the tyrant hour,10
We quick unite in vengeance sharp, and keen,
The rash intruder wounded owns our power.
Yet should some fatal violence succeed,
And final separation be our doom;
Tho' neither at the cruel stroke should bleed15
Or seek the shelter of the silent tomb.
Yet all our powers destroy'd, existence o'er,
In helpless indolence we useless lie,
Our dazzling arms divide the foe no more,
Or aid the active hand of industry.20
On us, if ancient poets do not feign,
The poor, precarious days of man depend;
Alike the poets work, or tyrants reign
Stopped by our fatal touch at once must end.
Yet, all neglectful of our nobler part,25
Obedient slaves to Chloe's magic power,
Behold us now, with imitative art,
Form the white garland of the paper flower.


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "The Scissars A Riddle" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals) and is undated in Verses. BACK