TO LESBIA! i 1
LESBIA! since far from you I've rang'd, ii
Our souls with fond affection glow not;
You say, 'tis I, not you, have chang'd,
I'd tell you why, - but yet I know not.
Your polish'd brow no cares have crost;
And Lesbia! we are not much older, iii
Since, trembling, first my heart I lost,
Or told my love, with hope grown bolder.
Sixteen was then our utmost age,
Two years have lingering pass'd away, love!
And now new thoughts our minds engage,
At least, I feel disposed to stray, love!
"Tis 'I' that am alone to blame,
'I', that am guilty of love's treason;
Since your sweet breast is still the same,
Caprice must be my only reason.
I do not, love! suspect your truth,
With jealous doubt my bosom heaves not;
Warm was the passion of my youth,
One trace of dark deceit it leaves not.
No, no, my flame was not pretended;
For, oh! I lov'd you most sincerely;
And though our dream at last is ended
My bosom still esteems you dearly.
No more we meet in yonder bowers;
Absence has made me prone to roving; iv
But older, firmer 'hearts' than ours
Have found monotony in loving.
Your cheek's soft bloom is unimpair'd,
New beauties, still, are daily bright'ning,
Your eye, for conquest beams prepar'd, v
The forge of love's resistless lightning.
Arm'd thus, to make their bosoms bleed,
Many will throng, to sigh like me, love!
More constant they may prove, indeed;
Fonder, alas! they ne'er can be, love!
Footnote 1: "The lady's name was Julia Leacroft" ('Note by Miss E. Pigot'). The word "Julia" (?) is added, in a lady's hand, in the annotated copy of 'P. on V. Occasions', p. 52 (British Museum)
Footnote i: 'To Julia'.
Footnote ii: 'Julia since'.
Footnote iii: 'And Julia'.
'Perhaps my soul's too pure for roving'.
'Your eye for conquest comes prepar'd'.