Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THIRTY EIGHT. ADDRESSED TO MRS. H -- Y., by CHARLOTTE SMITH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THIRTY EIGHT. ADDRESSED TO MRS. H -- Y., by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In early youth's unclouded scene
Last Line: That lead from thirty -- even to forty-eight.
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Charlotte Turner
Subject(s): Hayley, Eliza (mrs. William)

In early youth's unclouded scene,
The brilliant morning of eighteen,
With health and sprightly joy elate
We gazed on life's enchanting spring,
Nor thought how quickly time would bring
The mournful period -- Thirty-eight.

Then the starch maid, or matron sage,
Already of that sober age,
We view'd with mingled scorn and hate;
In whose sharp words, or sharper face,
With thoughtless mirth we loved to trace
The sad effects of -- Thirty-eight.

Till saddening, sickening at the view,
We learn'd to dread what Time might do;
And then preferr'd a prayer to Fate
To end our days ere that arrived;
When (Power and pleasure long survived)
We met neglect and -- Thirty-eight.

But Time, in spite of wishes, flies,
And Fate our simple prayer denies,
And bids us Death's own hour await:
The auburn locks are mix'd with grey,
The transient roses fade away,
But Reason comes at -- Thirty-eight.

Her voice the anguish contradicts
That dying vanity inflicts;
Her hand new pleasures can create,
For us she opens to the view
Prospects less bright -- but far more true,
And bids us smile at -- Thirty-eight.

No more shall Scandal's breath destroy
The social converse we enjoy
With bard or critic tete a tete; --
O'er Youth's bright blooms her blights shall pour,
But spare the improving friendly hour
That Science gives to -- Thirty-eight.

Stripp'd of their gaudy hues by Truth,
We view the glitt'ring toys of youth,
And blush to think how poor the bait
For which to public scenes we ran,
And scorn'd of sober Sense the plan,
Which gives content at -- Thirty-eight.

Tho' Time's inexorable sway
Has torn the myrtle bands away,
For other wreaths 'tis not too late,
The amaranth's purple glow survives,
And still Minerva's olive lives
On the calm brow of -- Thirty-eight.

With eye more steady we engage
To contemplate approaching age,
And life more justly estimate;
With firmer souls, and stronger powers,
With reason, faith, and friendship ours,
We'll not regret the stealing hours
That lead from Thirty -- even to Forty-eight.

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