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Louise Imogen Guiney (Луиза Имоджен Гвини)

A Footnote to a Famous Lyric

True love’s own talisman, which here
Shakespeare and Sidney failed to teach,
A steel-and-velvet Cavalier
Gave to our Saxon speech:

Chief miracle of theme and touch
That many envy and adore:
I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.

No critic born since Charles was king,
But sighed in smiling, as he read:
“Here’s theft of the supremest thing
A poet might have said!”

Young knight and wit and beau, who won
Mid war’s upheaval, ladies’ praise,
Was’t well of you, ere you had done,
To blight our modern bays?

O yet to you, whose random hand
Struck from the dark whole gems like these,
(Archaic beauty, never planned
Nor reared by wan degrees,

Which leaves an artist poor, and Art
An earldom richer all her years;)
To you, dead on your shield apart,
Be Ave! passed in tears.

’Twas virtue’s breath inflamed your lyre;
Heroic from the heart it ran;
Nor for the shedding of such fire
Lives, since, a manlier man.

And till your strophe sweet and bold
So lovely aye, so lonely long,
Love’s self outdo, dear Lovelace! hold
The parapets of song.

Louise Imogen Guiney's other poems:
  1. Changes in the Temple
  2. A December Walk
  3. Undertones at Magdalen
  4. Port Meadow
  5. To a Child

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