Imitated from a Sonnet Written by Mad. de la Valliere

Imitated from a Sonnet
Written by
Mad. de la Valliere [1] 

Yes, all must perish, all must fade,
The tenderest heart must cease to love;
Ah fool! by hope in vain betray'd,
Who taught unchanging truth to prove.
The years of old in all their course5
Eternal loves have never seen,
Nor constancy with greater force
O'er ages yet to come shall reign.
Her laws alas, thou wilt not hear,
No skill thy changeful heart can bind,10
Thy vows may charm today the ear,
But fly before to-morrow's wind.
And what so late possess'd the art
Thy fondness too much priz'd to gain,
Already, banish'd from thy heart,15
Thy pity now can scarce obtain.
Oh Love! to whom at once I owe
All that can sooth, or rend my soul;
Dear source of all my joy and woe,
Why feel I still thy strong control?20
Give me like him, releas'd & free,
To bear no more thy heavy chain:
Or, Oh take back his liberty
And touch his heart to share my pain.

Notes

[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Imitated from a Sonnet Written by Mad. de la Valliere" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals) and is undated in Verses. Tighe's note to the title provides a copy of Vallière's sonnet (“Everything destroys itself, everything passes; and the most tender heart / Cannot content itself with the same object”) and its historical context; Louise de la Vallière was the mistress of Louis XIV (1661-1667) until she was displaced by Madame de Montespan and eventually received permission to leave the court and take holy vows: "Madme de la Valliere se plaignit tendrement au Roi de son changement, il lui repondit avec froideur qu'il etoit trop sincere pour lui cacher sa passion pour Madme de Montespan. Madme de la Valliere envoyà au Roi ce sonnet.

Tout se detruit, tout passe; & le coeur le plus tendre
Ne peut d'un même objet se contenter toujours;
Le passè n'a point vu d'eternelles amours,
Et le siecles futurs n'en doivent point attendre:
La constance a des loix qu'on ne veut point entendre,5
Des desseins d'un grand Roi rien n'arrete le cours:
Ce qui plait aujourd' hui deplait en peu de jours.
Son inegalite ne sauroit se contraindre.
Tous ses defauts grand Roi font tort a vos vertues.
Vous m'aimiez autrefois, & vous ne m'aimez plus,10
Ah! que mes sentimens sont differens des votres;
Amour! a qui je dois et mon mal, et mon bien,
Que ne lui donnez vous un coeur comme le mien?
Ou que ne m'avez vous fait le mien comme les autres?
Ce sonnet fut louè de Louis, mais il se contente d'assurer Mad: de la Valliere qu'il aurait toujours de l'estime pour elle -- St Simon." (Tighe's note, from Louis de Rouvroy Saint-Simon's Mémoires [1789], 3:364-65). BACK

Exports

JSON What's this?
As you're browsing RC, you might see small buttons scattered on various pages. These buttons let you download that page's content in a ready-to-use data file! Learn more on our RC Data page.