Verses Written for Emily 1799

Written for Emily
1799 [1] 

Poor fond heart with pleasure swelling
What hast thou to do with joy?
Sorrow still usurps the dwelling
Scatters wide each glitt'ring toy.
From her grotto's brilliant centre5
See the Circe pleasure woo, [2] 
Oft deluded would I enter
Tho I saw remorse pursue:
Ah! thou bright, thou dangerous charmer!
Flattering trait'ress, gilded snare!10
Reason yields me now her armour,
I at length thine arts can dare.
O'er my path once sweetly smiling,
Crown'd with flowers, unseen his dart,
Love with blushes soft beguiling15
Seiz'd my fascinated heart.
Soon the traitor rudely rending
From my brow the rosy crown,
Pitiless of storms impending
Drove me forth to fate's dark frown.20
Harass'd, struggling, faint and weary
Long kind Hope reluctant clung,
Shuddering at my prospects dreary
All her brilliant chords unstrung.
Thus the quiv'ring lamp expiring25
Sudden shines with trembling beams,
Extinguish'd now, now life desiring,
Shoots forth momentary gleams.
Mute her voice, and dropt her lyre,
Now at last she sinks opprest;30
Day's bright beams with her retire
O'er me clouds, and darkness rest.
What can sooth this bitter sorrow?
What the soft assuaging balm?
In the sad impending morrow35
Who shall bid my soul be calm?
Lord of Hearts benignly callous,
Come Insensibility!
Stop the streams which feeling hallows
Smother each impassion'd sigh.40
Let this bosom idly beating
Taste at last a moments peace,
Passion's tide at length retreating
Bid the furious tempest cease.
Joy, and hope, and love, and pleasure,45
Here I bid you all adieu!
Thee, sweet peace, my last, best treasure!
All my wishes now pursue.
O'er my senses softly stealing,
Blest Indifference kindly come,50
From this agony of feeling
Hide me in thy tranquil gloom.
Banish each bright form delusive;
From my aching eyes remove
Fancy's torch with glare obtrusive;55
Visions of seductive Love!


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: A shorter and re-ordered version of "Verses Written for Emily 1799" attributed to the character Lady Emily Trevallyn is printed in Selena without a title and date (the source text for Collected Poems and Journals), omitting lines 1-12 and 33-36. The poem in Selena begins with lines 37-44, continues with lines 13-32, and concludes with lines 45-56. The illustration's depiction of crossed torches images "Fancy's torch" (line 55). BACK

[2] EDITOR'S NOTE: The enchantress Circe is most famous for turning Odysseus's men into swine in the Odyssey and, after reversing the enchantment, keeping Odysseus and his crew intoxicated for a year. BACK