Amelia Opie

(12 November 1769 – 2 December 1853 / Norwich)

Love Elegy, to Laura


Too heedless friend, why thus augment the flame
That glows resistless in my beating breast?
Why with thy praises grace his fatal name,
Who robs thy Emma's hapless heart of rest?

Why needest thou dwell on Henry's graceful ease;
Why praise the timid worth his glance reveals;
Why speak enraptured of his power to please,
Whose power to wound my aching bosom feels?

Say not, "That gentle voice was formed for love,"
Nor in his eyes such sweet expression see;
Say not, that tenderness those glances prove,
Which never fix with tenderness on me.

Too well my Henry's charms I've numbered o'er,
And thus to end the fond survey is mine:
His heart will own some brighter fair one's power;
Think not, lost Emma, he can e'er be thine.

Yet why despair? Though Beauty's boasted rose
On others' cheeks in livelier colours shine,
The tender heart that in my bosom glows
The palm of fondness will to none resign.

Though brighter radiance beams in others' eyes,
By shape, by colour formed the soul to steal;
If Love's expression Henry's heart can prize,
Then, Henry's heart the power of mine must feel.

Yet vain the hope: "Fond maid, thy love suppress,"
Calm Reason cries; "go, learn to check the sigh:
But, if resolved to love in rash excess,
Seek out some lonely shade, despair, and die!"

Then, Laura, bid to Henry's praise farewel!
Forget his merit, and my hopeless flame;
On the dear theme no more ill-judging dwell,
And from thy memory blot his fatal name.

But if I urge this plaintive prayer in vain,
Bid execrations on that name attend;
And him, my Laura, view with cold disdain,
Who sees unmoved the sorrows of thy friend.

Say, such the scorn, the pride of Henry's breast,
It cannot Love's endearing softness share,
Say, vice degrades....Hold! slight my wild request,
Nor by such calumny my fury dare.

No....from my frantic wishes still appeal,
Declare that Henry is from error free;
Or the keen hate for him I bade thee feel,
My wayward heart will learn to feel for thee.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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