Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WARNING, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON

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First Line: Pray thee, maiden, hear him not
Last Line: Then, maiden! Read thy fate in mine.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia

PRAY thee, maiden, hear him not!
Take thou warning by my lot;
Read my scroll, and mark thou all
I can tell thee of thy thrall.
Thou hast own'd that youthful breast
Treasures its most dangerous guest;
Thou hast own'd that Love is there:
Though now features he may wear,
Such as would a saint deceive,
Win a sceptic to believe,
Only for a time that brow
Will seem what 'tis seeming now.
I have said, heart, be content!
For Love's power o'er thee is spent.
That I love not now, oh true! --
I have bade such dreams adieu:
Therefore deemest thou my heart
Saw them tranquilly depart;
That they pass'd, nor left behind
Wreck and ruin in my mind.
Thou art in the summer hour
Of first passion's early power:
I am in the autumn day
Of its darkness, and decay.
-- Seems thine idol now to thee
Even as a divinity?
Such the faith that I too held;
Not the less am I compell'd
All my heart-creed to gainsay,
Own my idol gilded clay,
And yet pine to dream again
What I know is worse than vain.
Ay, I did love; and how well,
Let thine own fond weakness tell:
Still upon the soften'd mood
Of my twilight solitude,
Still upon my midnight tear,
Rises image all too dear;
Dark and starry eyes, whose light
Make the glory of the night;
Brow like ocean's morning foam,
For each noble thought a home.
Well such temple's fair outline
Seem'd the spirit's fitting shrine.
-- Is he hero, who hath won
Fields we shrink to think upon?
Patriot, on whose gifted tongue
Senates in their wonder hung?
Sage, before whose gifted eyes
Nature spreads her mysteries?
Bard, to whose charm'd lute is given
All that earth can breathe of heaven? --
Seems thy lover these to thee?
Even more mine seem'd to me.
Now, my fond belief is past;
Strange, methinks, if thine should last.
"Be content, thou lovest not now:"
Free, thou sayest, -- dream'st thou how?
Loathing wouldst thou shun dismay'd
Freedom by such ransom paid.
-- Girl, for thee I'll lay aside
Veil of smiles and mask of pride;
Shrouds that only ask of fate
Not to seem so desolate.
-- I am young, -- but age's snow
Hides not colder depths below;
I am gay, -- but such a light
Shines upon the grave by night.
-- Yet mine is a common tale;
Hearts soon changed, and vows were frail;
Each one blamed the other's deed,
Yet both felt they were agreed;
Ne'er again might either prove
Those sweet fallacies of love.
-- Still for what so vain I hold
Is my wasted heart grown cold.
Can hopes be again believed,
When their sweetest have deceived?
Can affection's chain be trusted,
When its dearest links have rusted?
Can life's dreams again be cherish'd,
When its dearest ones have perish'd?
I know Love will not endure;
Nothing now to me seems sure.
-- Maiden, by the thousand tears,
Lava floods on my first years;
By the nights, when burning pain
Fed upon my heart and brain;
By the wretched days now past,
By the weary days to last;
Be thou warn'd, for still the same
Is Love, beneath whatever name.
Keep thy fond faith like a thing
Where Time never change may bring.
Vow thee to thine idol's shrine, --
Then, maiden! read thy fate in mine.

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