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Poem by Laura Sophia Temple


At the Sight of a Beautiful But Frail One


Ah! lost one! hide that tempting smile,
    And turn away that thrilling eye;
They only languish, to beguile,
    They only dazzle to destroy.

How I could weep thy swimming gait
    Thy loose luxuriousness of air,
And almost curse the hand of Fate
    That painted thee so bright and fair.

Was it for this that Nature hung
    The rose of Summer on thy cheek,
For this she all the glories flung,
    That in thy glance so gaily speak;

For this she woke the nectar'd sigh
    That lives upon thy glowing lips,
In whose voluptuous, rich supply
    The God of Joy his pinion dips?

No, no! She meant that angel-smile
    To sweetly soothe, and chastely bless;
She meant that eye-beam's witching wile
    To shine with virtuous tenderness.

Yes, she design'd its liquid fire
    To light a pure and guiltless flame,
She meant it not to feed desire
    Or beckon on to vice and shame.

And once thy lucent form did shew
    Of Modesty the veiling grace,
And once the Noon of Love did glow
    O'er all thy soft ingenuous face.

Methinks I image some fond Youth
    Musing o'er all thy virgin charms,
And praying that thy stedfast truth,
    May bless his proud protecting arms.

I hear him free th' imprison'd sigh,
    I view his deep effusive gaze,
Mark in his cheek, the hectic dye
    That o'er its polish'd surface strays.

Now--on his steps the spoiler steals
    The rosy bands of Love to sever;
They snap--and Fate his sentence seals,
    His eyes are clos'd--Oh God! for ever.

And thou --neglected--wretched thing,
    Where dost thou hide thy guilty head?
Alas! thou feel'st the scorpion's sting,
    Long has thy gay seducer fled.

Ah! 'tis in vain thy grief to hide
    Beneath the garish veil of art;
Through all the gilding coats of pride
    I see the wreck'd and canker'd heart.

Then lay aside each mad'ning spell,
    Each spell that 'wilders to betray,
Or soon will sound the hollow knell
    That calls th' affrighted soul away.

With what proud rapture should I greet
    The modest, warm, repenting tear!
For trust me, love! 'twould look more meet
    Than all thy airs, and tinsel gear.

Could I but hail the lovely guest,
    Might I its lustre once survey,
Oh! I would take thee to my breast
    In spight of all the world should say.

Yes! I would lull thy woes to rest,
    Would heal the heart by sorrow riv'n,
Would clasp thee to a Sister's breast,
    And hope thy sins were all forgiv'n.



Laura Sophia Temple


Laura Sophia Temple's other poems:
  1. Sonnet 1. To the Evening Gale
  2. When Lately I Mus'd on the Days That Are Fled
  3. The Hindoo Lover's Address
  4. Arabian Song
  5. Recollection


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