Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LAMENT: A BALLAD, by ANNA LETITIA BARBAULD



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THE LAMENT: A BALLAD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Come here, all ye virgins, and pity my case
Last Line: Half-past eleven at night, dec. 31
Alternate Author Name(s): Aikin, Anna Letitia


Come here, all ye virgins, and pity my case,
By a lover neglected and left in disgrace;
By a lover whose charms and whose falsehoods are such
That I neither can praise nor lament him too much.

When first seen o'er the hills of the East he drew nigh,
How beauteous his footsteps, how cheering his eye!
The lark sprung to meet him, all nature was gay,
And his bright golden hair, how it stream'd on the day.

As nearer and nearer each day then he press'd,
How quickly he thaw'd all the ice of my breast;
And the hours of his absence were never then long,
And those hours too were soothed with the nightingale's song.

O then if I sicken'd, I sicken'd of love,
For relief from his ardours I sought the cool grove;
But where did the grove, rock, or desert appear,
Which his eye did not pierce, which is smile did not cheer!

O the joys that are past! by my lover caress'd,
When my lap teem'd with wealth, the rose bloom'd on my breast;
When the poet delighted my charms to rehearse,
And a wreath from my hair was the meed of his verse.

But those moments so precious are fled with swift pace, --
For a month at a time I now scarce see his face;
So languid his smile is, so distant his air,
My poor heart is quite sunk in the depths of despair.

My tresses are scatter'd, dishevell'd, and torn,
Through the chill night I sigh, and I weep every morn;
My charms were call'd forth by a beam from his eye,
In his absence they wither, they languish, and die.

Now my strength and my youth and my beauty are gone,
My times are accomplish'd, my fate hastens on;
His eye is averted, he sees not my death, --
Now my last hour approaches, I scarce draw my breath.

To a new fav'rite then he'll his passion transfer,
And his gifts and his courtship will all be for her;
Like me with his smiles she will kindle and glow,
And his kiss from her bosom will melt off the snow.

But like me deserted, she too will soon prove
How transient his fervours, how fickle his love;
And like mine, her short pageant must quickly be o'er,
For the circle she treads I have trodden before.

THE OLD YEAR
Half-past Eleven at Night, Dec. 31





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