The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 1/To Marion
Marion! why that pensive brow?
What disgust to life hast thou?
Change that discontented air;
Frowns become not one so fair.
'Tis not Love disturbs thy rest,
Love's a stranger to thy breast:
He, in dimpling smiles, appears,
Or mourns in sweetly timid tears;
Or bends the languid eyelid down,
But shuns the cold forbidding frown.
Then resume thy former fire,
Some will love and all admire!
While that icy aspect chills us,
Nought but cool Indiff'rence thrills us.
Would'st thou wand'ring hearts beguile,
Smile, at least, or seem to smile;
Eyes like thine were never meant
To hide their orbs in dark restraint;
Spite of all thou fain wouldst say,
Still in truant beams they play.
Thy lips—but here my modest Muse
Her impulse chaste must needs refuse:
She blushes, curt'sies, frowns,—in short She
Dreads lest the Subject should transport me;
And flying off, in search of Reason,
Brings Prudence back in proper season.
All I shall, therefore, say (whate'er
I think, is neither here nor there,)
Is, that such lips, of looks endearing,
Were form'd for better things than sneering.
Of soothing compliments divested,
Advice at least's disinterested;
Such is my artless song to thee,
From all the flow of Flatt'ry free;
Counsel like mine is as a brother's,
My heart is given to some others;
That is to say, unskill'd to cozen,
It shares itself among a dozen.
Marion, adieu! oh, pr'ythee slight not
This warning, though it may delight not;
And, lest my precepts be displeasing,
To those who think remonstrance teazing,
At once I'll tell thee our opinion,
Concerning Woman's soft Dominion;
Howe'er we gaze, with admiration,
On eyes of blue or lips carnation;
Howe'er the flowing locks attract us,
Howe'er those beauties may distract us;
Still fickle, we are prone to rove,
These cannot fix our souls to love;
It is not too severe a stricture,
To say they form a pretty picture;
But would'st thou see the secret chain,
Which binds us in your humble train,
To hail you Queens of all Creation,
Know, in a word, 'tis Animation.
Byron, January 10, 1807.
- [The MS. of this Poem is preserved at Newstead. "This was to Harriet Maltby, afterwards Mrs. Nichols, written upon her meeting Byron, and, "being cold, silent, and reserved to him, by the advice of a Lady with whom she was staying; quite foreign to her usual manner, which was gay, lively, and full of flirtation."—Note by Miss E. Pigot. (See p. 130, var. ii.)]
- Harriet.—[MS. Newstead.]
All I shall therefore say of these,
(Thy pardon if my words displease).—[MS. Newstead.]
And lest my precepts be found fault, by
Those who approved the frown of M——lt-by.—[MS, Newstead.]