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Poem by Louise Imogen Guiney

A Footnote to a Famous Lyric

True loves 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:
Heres theft of the supremest thing
A poet might have said!

Young knight and wit and beau, who won
Mid wars upheaval, ladies praise,
Wast 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 virtues 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,
Loves self outdo, dear Lovelace! hold
The parapets of song.

Louise Imogen Guiney

Louise Imogen Guiney's other poems:
  1. Writ in my Lord Clarendons History of the Rebellion
  2. On the Same (continued)
  3. A December Walk
  4. A Last Word on Shelley
  5. The Old Dial of Corpus

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