Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO CLARISSA, by ROBERT NUGENT

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TO CLARISSA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Twas when the friendly shade of night
Last Line: I wish her with her wedded mate.
Alternate Author Name(s): Nugent, Earl
Subject(s): Desire; Jealousy

'TWAS when the friendly shade of night
Suspends the busy cares of light,
And on the various world bestows
Or sprightly joy, or calm repose.
With gen'rous wine the glass was crowned,
And mirth, and talk, and toasts went round.
Clarissa came to bless the feast,
Clarissa, dearly welcome guest.
Not such she looked as when by day
She blazes in the diamond's ray;
And, adding to each gem a grace,
Gives India's wealth the second place:
But soft reclined in careless ease,
More pleasing, less intent to please.
Loose flowed her hair in wanton pride,
Her robe unbound, her zone untied;
Half bare to view her milk-white breast,
A slender veil scarce shades the rest;
Her eye with sparkling lustre glows,
And wit in sweetest accent flows.
Now soothed the angel's voice I hear,
And drink in love at either ear;
Now stung with wilder rapture gaze,
While our eyes meet with blended rays;
And kindling in th' infectious flame,
I feel what words want pow'r to name.
Awaking from the silent trance,
Cautious I steal a broken glance;
In clam'rous mirth each pang disguise,
And laughter swell with bursting sighs;
For envy, pallid fiend, was there,
And jealousy with watchful care.
Now ends the feast, each guest retires,
And with them, all my soul desires,
Clarissa goes—Ah! cruel fate!
She goes with her ill-sorted mate:
Sullen and slow he moves along,
And heavy hums a drowsy song.
O! drowsy may the monster lie,
And instant slumbers seal his eye!
So shalt thou, best beloved, escape
The horrors of a legal rape.
Or should the brutish instinct goad,
And thou must bear th' unwelcome load;
If struggle, pray'r, pretence be vain,
To shun what tyrant-laws ordain;
Ah! sparing deal out scanty dues,
And keep whate'er thou can'st refuse!
Ah! give no bounding pulse to beat,
No cheek to glow with genial heat!
No breast to heave in am'rous play,
No limbs to twine, no hands to stray;
But sluggish press the joyless bed,
And lie in cold indiff'rence dead:
Nor let the blasting spoiler sip
The fragrance of thy balmy lip!
To share with him the lover's part
Were rank adultery of the heart.
But if, in chaster love's despite,
Warm nature catch the known delight;
While fierce desires tumultuous rise,And rapture melts thy closing eyes;
Ah! be those joys for me designed,
And let me rush upon thy mind!
To me the burning kiss impart,
On me impress the humid dart,
For me unlock the nectared store,
Then sigh, and dream the transport o'er!
Thus with her loved idea fraught,
Delusive fancy charms my thought;
And joining in the flatt'ring cheat,
Willing I hug the dear deceit;
From fiction real bliss receive,
And all I fondly wish believe;
Nor envy to a husband's arms
The dull fruition of her charms.
But when, regardless of my truth,
She smiles on some more favoured youth:
And, while he whispers in her ears,
With more than wonted pleasure hears;
My jealous thought his voice supplies,
And reads perdition in her eyes.
Then torn with envy, love and hate,
I wish her with her wedded mate.

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