Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AD ROASAM, by HENRY AUSTIN DOBSON



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AD ROASAM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I had a vacant dwelling
Last Line: Particulars within.'
Alternate Author Name(s): Dobson, Austin
Subject(s): Flowers; Roses


'Mitte sectari, ROSA quo locorum
Sera moretur.' -- HOR. i. 38.

I HAD a vacant dwelling --
Where situated, I,
As naught can serve the telling,
Decline to specify; --
Enough 'twas neither haunted,
Entailed, nor out of date;
I put up 'Tenant Wanted,'
And left the rest to Fate.

Then, Rose, you passed the window, --
I see you passing yet, --
Ah, what could I within do,
When, Rose, our glances met!
You snared me, Rose, with ribbons,
Your rose-mouth made me thrall,
Brief -- briefer far than Gibbon's,
Was my 'Decline and Fall.'

I heard the summons spoken
That all hear -- king and clown:
You smiled -- the ice was broken;
You stopped -- the bill was down.
How blind we are! It never
Occurred to me to seek
If you had come for ever,
Or only for a week.

The words your voice neglected,
Seemed written in your eyes;
The thought your heart protected,
Your cheek told, missal-wise; --
I read the rubric plainly
As any Expert could;
In short, we dreamed, -- insanely,
As only lovers should.

I broke the tall OEnone,
That then my chambers graced,
Because she seemed 'too bony,'
To suit your purist taste;
And you, without vexation,
May certainly confess
Some graceful approbation,
Designed a mon adresse.

You liked me then, carina, --
You liked me then, I think;
For your sake gall had been a
Mere tonic-cup to drink;
For your sake, bonds were trivial,
The rack, a tour-de-force;
And banishment, convivial, --
You coming too, of course.

Then, Rose, a word in jest meant
Would throw you in a state
That no well-timed investment
Could quite alleviate;
Beyond a Paris trousseau
You prized my smile, I know:
I, yours -- ah, more than Rousseau
The lip of d'Houdetot.

Then, Rose, -- But why pursue it?
When Fate begins to frown,
Best write the final 'fuit,'
And gulp the physic down.
And yet, -- and yet, that only,
The song should end with this: --
You left me, -- left me lonely,
Rosa mutabilis!

Left me, with Time for Mentor,
(A dreary tete-a-tete!)
To pen my 'Last Lament,' or
Extemporize to Fate,
In blankest verse disclosing
My bitterness of mind, --
Which is, I learn, composing
In cases of the kind.

No, Rose. Though you refuse me,
Culture the pang prevents;
'I am not made' -- excuse me --
'Of so slight elements';
I leave to common lovers
The hemlock or the hood;
My rarer soul recovers
In dreams of public good.

The Roses of this nation --
Or so I understand
From careful computation --
Exceed the gross demand;
And, therefore, in civility
To maids that can't be matched,
No man of sensibility
Should linger unattached.

So, without further fashion --
A modern Curtius,
Plunging, from pure compassion,
To aid the overplus, --
I sit down, sad -- not daunted,
And, in my weeds, begin
A new card -- 'Tenant Wanted,
Particulars within.'





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