Poems (Barbauld)/Songs/Song I

Poems  (1773)  by Anna Laetitia Barbauld
Song I


COME here fond youth, whoe'er thou be,
That boasts to love as well as me;
And if thy breast have felt so wide a wound,
 Come hither and thy flame approve;
 I'll teach thee what it is to love,
And by what marks true passion may be found.

 It is to be all bath'd in tears;
 To live upon a smile for years;
To lie whole ages at a beauty's feet:
 To kneel, to languish and implore;
 And still tho' she disdain, adore:
It is to do all this, and think thy sufferings sweet.

 It is to gaze upon her eyes
 With eager joy and fond surprise;
Yet temper'd with fuch chasle and awful fear
 As wretches feel who wait their doom;
 Nor must one ruder thought presume
Tho' but in whispers breath'd, to meet her ear.

 It is to hope, tho' hope were lost;
 Tho' heaven and earth thy passion crost;
Tho' she were bright as sainted queens above,
 And thou the least and meanest swain
 That folds his flock upon the plain,
Yet if thou dar'st not hope, thou dost not love.

 It is to quench thy joy in tears;
 To nurse strange doubts and groundless fears:
If pangs of jealousy thou hast not prov'd,
 Tho' she were fonder and more true
 Than any nymph old poets drew,
Oh never dream again that thou hast lov'd.

 If when the darling maid is gone,
 Thou dost not seek to be alone,
Wrapt in a pleasing trance of tender woe,
 And muse, and fold thy languid arms,
 Feeding thy fancy on her charms,
Thou dost not love, for love is nouriush'd so.

 If any hopes thy bosom share
 But those which love has planted there,
Or any cares but his thy breast enthrall,
 Thou never yet his power hast known;
 Love sits on a despotic throne,
And reigns a tyrant, if he reigns at all.

 Now if thou art so lost a thing,
 Here all thy tender sorrows bring,
And prove whose patience longest can endure:
 We'll strive whose fancy shall be lost
 In dreams of fondest passion most;
For if thou thus hast lov'd, oh! never hope a cure.