Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE COMPLAINT OF FANCY, by MATILDA BARBARA BETHAM-EDWARDS

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE COMPLAINT OF FANCY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: As, musing, late I sat reclined
Last Line: And quickly bore them from my view.
Alternate Author Name(s): Betham, Mary Matilda; Edwards, Matilda B.; Edwards, B. M.
Subject(s): Imagination; Fancy

AS, musing, late I sat reclined,
And waking dreams absorbed my mind,
A damsel came, of various dyes,
Like painted Iris from the skies;
A purfled saffron was her vest,
And sweet gum-cistus formed her crest;
In many a playful ring, her hair
Flew light and flossy in the air;
The mantle, blue and gold, she wore,
A rose of opals held before,
While, graceful in her fairy hand,
Appeared a crimson-tufted wand,
Whose shade on every object threw
A glowing tint of roseate hue.

"Whence art thou, blooming nymph?" I cried,
And thus a tuneful voice replied:
"Men call me Fancy; at my shrine
"Myriads confess my power divine;
"There painters bend the willing knee,
"And laurelled poets sue to me:
"For mine is every vivid ray,
"Which partial Nature gave the day;
"And, to the music of my song,
"A thousand nameless charms belong.

"The friend of Happiness, I dwell
"Beloved alike in court or cell;
"Where Glory lifts her ardent eye,
"With hasty, kindred zeal I fly,
"In sun-beams place the hero's form,
"And bid his arm command the storm;
"On swelling clouds an altar raise,
"And fan the towering flame of praise.

"Oft, from the lorn enthusiast's lyre,
"My fingers strike etherial fire,
"And give to sounds of piercing woe,
"Extatic rapture's fervent glow.
"Oft sooth the maniac's throbbing vein,
"And grace her simple, wildered strain;
"The tribe of Pain in fetters keep,
"Lull wounded Memory to sleep,
"And, in the mind of gloomy Care,
"Bid Thought an angel's semblance wear.

"Dear to each blest aerial pow'r,
"E'en Wisdom calls me to her bow'r;
"My songs her leisure hours beguile,
"And teach her holy lip to smile.
"And, when the Muse, with thoughtful care,
"Has woven chaplets for her hair,
"I let her, with her myrtles, twine,
"Full many a fragrant rose of mine.
"Then why, since all the wise and gay,
"To me a grateful homage pay,
"Since I to all my hand extend,
"And, liberal, every heart befriend,
"Does Nancy from the croud retire,
"And rend my blossoms from her lyre?
"Though every string the loss bewail,
"And tones of mellow sweetness fail,
"Which used to charm the pensive ear,
"When list'ning Friendship bent to hear.

"Tell her I wish not to intrude
"Upon her sacred solitude,
"Nor cast my undulating chain,
"Around her glowing heart again;
"No! every claim I now resign,
"Yet let some small regard be mine;
"Let one, who nursed her infant years,
"And wiped away some bitter tears,
"Still animate the scenes around,
"And make her tread on fairy ground;
"Give playful sweetness to each lay,
"And decorate the passing day.
"Tell her, if now she scorns my strain;
"She may invoke my name in vain;
"In vain my proffered aid implore,
"Contemned, I hardly pardon more."

She said, and springing from the earth,
Attending found her suitor Mirth,
Who caught her hand, with lively air,
And placed her in his silver chair,
Which through the yielding ether flew,
And quickly bore them from my view.

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