Open main menu

Poems (Barbauld)/Songs/Song IV

SONG IV.


WHEN gentle Celia first I knew,
A breast so good, so kind, so true,
Reason and taste approv'd;
Pleas'd to indulge so pure a flame,
I call'd it by too soft a name,
And fondly thought I lov'd.

Till Chloris came: with sad surprise
I felt the light'ning of her eyes
Thro' all my senses run;
All glowing with resistless charms,
She fill'd my breast with new alarms,
I saw, and was undone.

O Celia! dear unhappy maid,
Forbear the weakness to upbraid
Which ought your scorn to move;
I know this beauty false and vain,
I know she triumphs in my pain,
Yet still I feel I love.

Thy gentle smiles no more can please,
Nor can thy softest friendship ease
The torments I endure;
Think what that wounded breast must feel
Which truth and kindness cannot heal,
Nor e'en thy pity cure.

Oft shall I curse my iron chain,
And wish again thy milder reign
With long and vain regret;
All that I can, to thee I give,
And could I still to reason live
I were thy captive yet.

But passion's wild impetuous sea
Hurries me far from peace and thee;
'Twere vain to struggle more:
Thus the poor sailor slumbering lies,
While swelling tides around him rise,
And push his bark from shore.

In vain he spreads his helpless arms,
His pitying friends with fond alarms
In vain deplore his state;
Still far and farther from the coast,
On the high surge his bark is tost,
And foundering yields to fate.