TO CAROLINE. 1
When I hear you express an affection so warm,
Ne'er think, my belov'd, that I do not believe;
For your lip would the soul of suspicion disarm,
And your eye beams a ray which can never deceive.
Yet still, this fond bosom regrets, while adoring,
That love, like the leaf, must fall into the sear,
That Age will come on, when Remembrance, deploring,
Contemplates the scenes of her youth, with a tear;
That the time must arrive, when, no longer retaining
Their auburn, those locks must wave thin to the breeze,
When a few silver hairs of those tresses remaining,
Prove nature a prey to decay and disease.
Tis this, my belov'd, which spreads gloom o'er my features,
Though I ne'er shall presume to arraign the decree
Which God has proclaim'd as the fate of his creatures,
In the death which one day will deprive you of me. i
Mistake not, sweet sceptic, the cause of emotion, ii
No doubt can the mind of your lover invade;
He worships each look with such faithful devotion,
A smile can enchant, or a tear can dissuade.
But as death, my belov'd, soon or late shall o'ertake us,
And our breasts, which alive with such sympathy glow,
Will sleep in the grave, till the blast shall awake us,
When calling the dead, in Earth's bosom laid low.
Oh! then let us drain, while we may, draughts of pleasure,
Which from passion, like ours, must unceasingly flow; iii
Let us pass round the cup of Love's bliss in full measure,
And quaff the contents as our nectar below.
Footnote 1: There is no heading in the Quarto.
Footnote i: 'will deprive me of thee'. -
'No jargon of priests o'er our union was mutter'd,
To rivet the fetters of husband and wife;
By our lips, by our hearts, were our vows alone utter'd,
To perform them, in full, would ask more than a life'. -
Footnote iii: 'will unceasingly flow'. -