Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PRIDE OF BEAUTY, by PIERRE JEAN DE BERANGER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE PRIDE OF BEAUTY, by            
First Line: A gallant youth, whose lady-love possessed
Last Line: "handsome or homely, all is one to me!'"
Subject(s): Beauty; Love

A GALLANT youth, whose lady-love possessed
The rarest charms to fire the manly breast,
Was so enamored of the beauteous maid,
That to the powers above -- below -- he prayed,
Right fervently, to make her beauty less;
Nay, turn it, if they would, to ugliness;
That so it might be shown his constant flame,
Despite the change, would glow for her the same.
This strange request no sooner Satan heard,
Than, quick as thought, he took him at his word,
And, by such arts as only Satan knows,
The deed was done! -- away her beauty goes!
And now before her mirror see her stand,
No more "the fairest lady in the land,"
But such a Hecate, such a very fright,
She shrieked aloud, and shuddered at the sight.
And Satan laughed! But still the lover swore
In very sooth he loved her as before!
"O faithful soul!" she said; but little less
The woman mourned her vanished love-liness.
"My beauty gone!" the weeping damsel cried;
"To come to this! Ah, would that I had died!"
In short, she wept at such a frantic rate,
The very Fiend took pity on her fate,
And soon was fain her beauty to restore.
And now hehold her at her glass once more,
Handsome as Helen when, with radiant charms,
She summoned Paris to her waiting arms:
More beautiful, indeed, than in the hour
She knew the demon's disenchanting power;
For, while the Fiend called back her former face,
He slyly added many a winning grace.
"And now," she said, "I'm sure you love me more,
Ay, twice as much as e'er you did before"
"Nay," said the lover, "as I loved no less
When once I saw your beauty in distress, --
No more, my sweet, this added grace may claim
Than my whole heart, -- I love you but the same!"
"Adieu!" she said; "to me't is very clear
Heaven sends us beauty but to make us dear;
And well I see my love were thrown away
On one so dull that he can coolly say,
Who cares -- not I! -- how beautiful you be?
Handsome or homely, all is one to me!'"

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