Treasure Island

Amelia Opie

(12 November 1769 – 2 December 1853 / Norwich)

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Secret Love


Not one kind look....one friendly word!
Wilt thou in chilling silence sit;
Nor through the social hour afford
One cheering smile, or beam of wit?

Yet still, absorbed in studious care,
Neglect to waste one look on me;
For then my happy eyes may dare
To gaze and dwell unchecked on thee.

And still in silence sit, nor deign
One gentle precious word to say;
For silent I may then remain,
Nor let my voice my soul betray.

This faltering voice, these conscious eyes,
My throbbing heart too plainly speak:
There timid hopeless passion lies,
And bids it silence keep, and break .

To me how dear this twilight hour,
Cheered by the faggot's varying blaze!
If this be mine, I ask no more
On morn's refulgent light to gaze:

For now, while on HIS glowing cheek
I see the fire's red radiance fall,
The darkest seat I softly seek,
And gaze on HIM , unseen by all.

His folded arms, his studious brow,
His thoughtful eye, unmarked, I see;
Nor could his voice or words bestow
So dear, so true a joy on me.

But he forgets that I am near....
Fame, future fame, in thought he seeks:
To him ambition's paths appear,
And bright the sun of science breaks.

His heart with ardent hope is filled;
His prospects full of beauty bloom:
But, oh! my heart despair has chilled,
My only prospect is....the tomb!

One only boon from Heaven I claim,
And may it grant the fond desire!
That I may live to hear his fame,
And in that throb of joy expire .

Oft hast thou marked my chilling eye,
And mourned my cold reserve to see,
Resolved the fickle friend to fly,
Who seemed unjust to worth and thee:

While I, o'erjoyed, thy anger saw....
Blest proof I had not tried in vain
To give imperious passion law,
And hide my bosom's conscious pain.

But when night's sheltering darkness came,
And none the conscious wretch could view,
How fiercely burned the smothered flame!
How deep was every sigh I drew!

Yet still to thee I'll clothe my brow
In all that jealous pride requires;
My look the type of Ætna's snow....
My heart, of Ætna's secret fires.

One little moment, short as blest,
Compassion Love's soft semblance wore;
My meagre form he fondly pressed,
And on his beating bosom bore.

His frame with strong emotion shook,
And kindness tuned each faltering word;
While I, surprised, with anxious look
The meaning of his glance explored.

But soon my too experienced heart
Read nought but generous pity there;
I felt presumptuous hope depart,
And all again was dark despair.

Yet still, in memory still, my heart
Lives o'er that fleeting bliss again;
I feel his glance, his touch, impart
Emotion through each bursting vein.

And "Once ," I cry, "those eyes so sweet
On me with fondness deigned to shine;
For once I felt his bosom beat
Against the conscious throbs of mine!"

Nor shall the dear remembrance die
While aught of life to me is given;
But soothe my last convulsive sigh,
And be, till then, my joy....my heaven!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • * Sunprincess * (5/27/2014 10:53:00 AM)

    ................love should never be kept secret....cause the one you love may have the same feelings for you....if kept secret and love was never embraced....then it would be a tragedy... (Report) Reply

  • Francis Lynch (4/4/2014 10:44:00 PM)

    Hmm. Sounds like he bonked her then left her. Nasty business, and not very empowering. It may even rank with teenage angst. (Report) Reply

  • Thomas Vaughan Jones (4/4/2014 10:13:00 AM)

    A poem carried forward from 400 years ago. What a place the world must have been for women in those far off days. No matter how they felt, they could not utter a word. When love was thrust upon them, they more or less had to accept providing Papa gave his consent. Yet she expresses herself with a gentle humour and a charming turn of phrase. I hope you lady poets are reading out there. Let's have no more of this Hey Lad. Do you want a girl frend (Report) Reply

  • Mel Merrill (4/4/2014 2:56:00 AM)

    I liked it. I applaud your brave use of rhyme and the scholarly way you employ it. (Report) Reply

  • Carlos Echeverria (4/4/2012 10:58:00 AM)

    Unbridled passion thwarted by ambition; in this modern age-the roles are inverted. Would a man be brave enough to share his secret love? (Report) Reply

  • Juan Olivarez (4/4/2011 8:26:00 AM)

    Excellent poetry, the lamentation of a scorned lover, scorned for a career not another woman, the cruelest blow of all. The pleading of a lover for a bit of attention, and being completely overlooked. Amelie Opie was an excellent poetess. (Report) Reply

  • quercus : I've never got paid for my hits... (4/4/2010 7:08:00 AM)

    Thank you for sharing this awesome write - it's inspired me to add my own ending to the story:

    And aught of life I dare to define
    as envy’s suffocating fumes,
    conspiracy that’s crossed the line
    to pave the path to many tombs…

    But I am fine and choose to be
    to breathe in the air of the truth…
    To love and live means to be free
    and swap weary lines for eternal youth… (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (4/4/2010 3:18:00 AM)

    Beautifully written poem about a lady's deep love for his counter part's success to fame and the sacrifice she is ready to undergo! This is the mark of real love in life! (Report) Reply

  • Ripper Moore (4/4/2008 1:59:00 PM)

    Delightful! Beautiful! So sad! To how many dumb sufferers has Ms. Opie given voice? A poet's (or songwriter's, or playwright's) genius lies in giving expression to life's experience, so that the listener may say 'Yes! That is me! How well am I understood! ' Or possibly 'Oh! Now I comprehend how that person felt! ' I am humbled by this poem's insight, so eloquently expressed. (Report) Reply

  • June Smithster (4/4/2006 11:17:00 AM)

    this poem is longer than any thing I have written
    but that is no problem
    I am struggling Poet
    starving artist
    maybe someday you will make me Poet for a day (Report) Reply

Read all 18 comments »

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