Amelia Opie

(12 November 1769 – 2 December 1853 / Norwich)

Love Elegy, to Henry


Then thou hast learnt the secret of my soul,
Officious Friendship has its trust betrayed;
No more I need the bursting sigh control,
Nor summon pride my struggling soul to aid.

But think not banished hope returns again,
Think not I write thy thankless heart to move;
The faded form that tells my tender pain
May win thy pity, but it can't thy love.

Nor can I move thee by soft winning art,
By manners taught to charm, or practised glance;
Artless as thine, my too too feeling heart
Disdains the tutored eye, the fond advance.

The cold coquette, to win her destined prey,
May feign a passion which she ne'er can feel;
But I true Passion's soft commands obey,
And fain my tender feelings would conceal.

In others' eyes, when fixed on thine, I see
That fondness painted which alone I know;
Think not, my Henry, they can love like me,
More love I hide than they can e'er bestow.

While tender glances their emotions speak,
And oft they heave and oft suppress the sigh;
O turn to me, behold my pallid cheek
Shrinking from thine, behold my downcast eye!

While they by mirth, by wit, thine ear amuse,
And by their eloquence thy plaudits seek;
See me the fond contention still refuse,
Nor in thy presence, Henry, dare to speak.

When asked to breathe the soul-enchanting song,
See them o'erjoyed exert their utmost art;
While vainly I would join the choral throng,
Lost are those tones which once could touch the heart.

But, Henry, wert thou in Love's language wise,
Vainly would others more than Emma shine;
Beyond their sweetest strains thy heart would prize
One faint, one broken, tender tone of mine.

O proofs of passion, eloquent as vain!
By thee unheeded, or perhaps unknown,....
But learn, the pangs that prompt this pensive strain,
Ere long, disdainful youth, may be thine own.

Ah! no....in hopeless love thou canst not pine,
Thou ne'er canst woo the brightest maid in vain;
For thee Love's star midst cloudless skies will shine,
And light thy graceful steps to Hymen's fane:

While I, as hope, and strength, and life recede,
Far, far from thee shall waste the languid day;
Blest, if the scroll that speaks thy bliss I read,
But far more blest to feel life's powers decay.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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