Alexander Pope

(21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744 / London / England)

Chorus of Youths and Virgins


Semichorus.
Oh Tyrant Love! hast thou possest
The prudent, learn'd, and virtuous breast?
Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
And Arts but soften us to feel thy flame.
Love, soft intruder, enters here,
But ent'ring learns to be sincere.
Marcus with blushes owns he loves,
And Brutus tenderly reproves.
Why, Virtue, dost thou blame desire,
Which Nature has imprest?
Why, Nature, dost thou soonest fire
The mild and gen'rous breast?

Chorus.
Love's purer flames the Gods approve;
The Gods and Brutus bent to love:
Brutus for absent Portia sighs,
And sterner Cassius melts at Junia's eyes.
What is loose love? a transient gust,
Spent in a sudden storm of lust,
A vapour fed from wild desire,
A wand'ring, self-consuming fire,
But Hymen's kinder flames unite;
And burn for ever one;
Chaste as cold Cynthia's virgin light,
Productive as the Sun.

Semichorus.
Oh source of ev'ry social tie,
United wish, and mutual joy!
What various joys on one attend,
As son, as father, brother husband, friend?
Whether his hoary sire he spies,
While thousand grateful thoughts arise;
Or meets his spouse's fonder eye;
Or views his smiling progeny;
What tender passions take their turns,
What home-felt raptures move?
His heart now melts, now leaps, now burns,
With rev'rence, hope, and love.

Chorus.
Hence guilty joys, distastes, surmises,
Hence false tears, deceits, disguises,
Dangers, doubts, delays, surprises;
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine
Purest love's unwasting treasure,
Constant faith, fair hope, long leisure,
Days of ease, and nights of pleasure;
Sacred Hymen! these are thine.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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