A.J. Collins reads "Song" ["Where, O! where's the chain to fling"] by Laetitia Elizabeth Landon

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In this installment, A.J. Collins reads “Song” [“Where, O! where’s the chain to fling”] by Laetitia Elizabeth Landon. Collins was raised in coastal North Carolina. He earned his MFA at the University of California, Irvine. His current work-in-progress is supported by a Schaeffer Fellowship from the International Institute of Modern Letters, and he teaches in the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of Maine, Farmington.

Laetitia Elizabeth Landon, "Song" ["Where, O! where’s the chain to fling"]

Where, O! where’s the chain to fling,
One that will bind CUPID’s wing,
One that will have longer power
Than the April sun or shower?
Form it not of Eastern gold,
All too weighty it to hold;
Form it neither all of bloom,
Never does love find a tomb
Sudden, soon, as when he meets
Death amid unchanging sweets:
But if you would fling a chain,
And not fling it all in vain,
Like a fairy form a spell
Of all that is changeable,
Take the purple tints that deck,
Meteorlike, the peacock’s neck;
Take the many hues that play
On the rainbow’s colour’d way;
Never let a hope appear
Without its companion fear;
Only smile to sigh, and then
Change into a smile again;
Be to-day as sad, as pale,
As minstrel with his lovelorn tale;
But to-morrow gay as all
Life had been one festival.
If a woman would secure
All that makes her reign endure,
And, alas! her reign must be
Ever most in fantasy,
Never let an envious eye
Gaze upon the heart too nigh;
Never let the veil be thrown
Quite aside, as all were known
Of delight and tenderness,
In the spirit’s last recess;
And, one spell all spells above,
Never let her own her love.

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Poets on Poets