Nay, tempt me not to love again,
There was a time when love was sweet;
Dear Nea! had I known thee then,
Our souls had not been slow to meet.
But, oh, this weary heart hath run,
So many a time, the rounds of pain,
Not even for thee, thou lovely one,
Would I endure such pangs again.
If there be climes, where never yet
The print of beauty’s foot was set,
Where man may pass his loveless nights,
Unfevered by her false delights,
Thither my wounded soul would fly,
Where rosy cheek or radiant eye
Should bring no more their bliss, or pain,
Nor fetter me to earth again.
Dear absent girl! whose eyes of light,
Though little prized when all my own,
Now float before me, soft and bright
As when they first enamoring shone,—
What hours and days have I seen glide,
While fit, enchanted, by thy side,
Unmindful of the fleeting day,
I’ve let life’s dream dissolve away.
O bloom of youth profusely shed!
O moments I simply, vainly sped,
Yet sweetly too—or Love perfumed
The flame which thus my life consumed;
And brilliant was the chain of flowers,
In which he led my victim-hours.
Say, Nea, say, couldst thou, like her,
When warm to feel and quick to err,
Of loving fond, of roving fonder,
This thoughtless soul might wish to wander,—
Couldst thou, like her, the wish reclaim,
Endearing still, reproaching never,
Till even this heart should burn with shame,
And be thy own more fixt than ever,
No, no—on earth there’s only one
Could bind such faithless folly fast;
And sure on earth but one alone
Could make such virtue false at last!
Nea, the heart which she forsook,
For thee were but a worthless shrine—
Go, lovely girl, that angel look
Must thrill a soul more pure than mine.
Oh! thou shalt be all else to me,
That heart can feel or tongue can feign;
I’ll praise, admire, and worship thee,
But must not, dare not, love again.