Written for EMILY

EMILY [1] 

Peace, peace, nor utter what I must not hear!
Too much already hast thou been believed,
Think not thy words can reach alone mine ear,
In this weak heart too easily received.
Why wouldst thou mock me with a vain complaint,5
Why speak of feelings which thou dost not know?
Too well thy lips can fond affection paint,
But from thy heart those accents never flow.
What dost thou wish? what would this language mean?
What can the idle boast to thee avail?10
To wound my peace, to blast my hours serene,
O'er every hope of future bliss prevail?
Is this thy sport? ah! thoughtless and unjust!
For I have marked thee with a jealous eye!
Since reason first forbad my hopes to trust,15
And virtue call'd me from the snare to fly.
Why should I tell the struggles which have torn,
This simply credulous, this trusting heart,
As down the stream of fond affection borne
I saw the tranquil shores of peace depart.20
As the light flag impelled against the breeze
Looks back and trembles with reluctance vain,
My vanquish'd soul reflects on former ease
Yet powerless sinks submissive to the chain.
Oft when my friendly fate had bid us part,25
Thy well feigned sorrow could prevent my cure,
And absence cherished in my grateful heart,
Friendship it call'd so innocent and pure.
Yet when returned I saw this friend advance
'Expecting joy to sparkle in his eye,30
Chill'd I beheld the cold averted glance,
And proudly check'd the involuntary sigh.
Then how with scorn my weakness I despis'd
The folly which was lured by falsehood's tale,
When other smiles than those I thought were prized35
Could o'er thy false or changeful heart prevail.
Back then with trembling haste to wisdom's side
Offended delicacy bade me flee,
Accept my peace restored by wounded pride,
And think no more of tenderness or thee.40
Ah why with cruel art and idle pain
Revive the sentiments I still deplore?
Why seek what thus you slighted to regain,
And swell this breast with anxious sighs once more?
In vain the foldings of thy heart I seek45
At length by reason or by truth to trace,
Conjecture cannot from thy conduct speak,
But baffled yields to sad surprise the place.
I sought no art to captivate thy soul,
To blast the prospects of thy opening youth,50
Such selfish vanity could ne'er control
The heart which loves with innocence and truth.
Torture no more this agitated breast
With false seductive hopes of joy and love,
Suffer in calm indifference to rest55
The feelings Prudence bids me disapprove.
Yet a short while, and this sad, timid eye
No more shall meet thee with reproachful glance,
No claims have I to make, or thou deny,
For ease alone this wearied bosom pants.60


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Written for Emily" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary and is not dated in Verses but is printed without a title in Selena (the source text for Collected Poems and Journals), where it is attributed to the character Lady Emily Trevallyn. BACK