Landon in The Literary Gazette 1823/Ariadne

For other versions of this work, see Head of Ariadne.
Poems  (1823)  by Letitia Elizabeth Landon
Medallion Wafers - Head of Ariadne

Literary Gazette, 1st March 1823, Page 139



Head of Ariadne.[1]

Oh, why should Woman ever love,
    Throwing her chance away,
Her little chance of summer shine,
    Upon a rainbow ray?

Look back on each old history,
    Each fresh remembered tale;
They'll tell how often love has made
    The cheek of woman pale;—

Her unrequited love, a flower
    Dying for air and light;
Her love betrayed, another flower
    Withering before a blight.

Look down within the silent grave;
    How much of breath and bloom
Have wasted,—passion's sacrifice
    Offered to the lone tomb.

Look on her hour of solitude,
    How many bitter cares
Belie the smile with which the lip
    Would sun the wound it bears.

Mark this sweet face! oh, never blush
    Has past o'er one more fair,
And never o'er a brighter brow
    Has wandered raven hair.

And mark how carelessly those wreaths
    Of curl are flung behind,
And mark how pensively the brow
    Leans on the hand reclined.

'Tis she of Crete!—another proof
    Of woman's weary lot;
Their April doom of sun and shower,—
    To love, then be forgot.

Heart-sickness, feelings tortured, torn,
    A sky of storm above,
A path of thorns,—these are love's gifts,—
    Ah, why must woman love![2]

  1. Appears in The Vow of the Peacock and Other Poems (1835)
  2. Signature after later poem