Behold, my love, the curious gem
Within this simple ring of gold;
’Tis hallow’d by the touch of them
Who lived in classic hours of old.
Some fair Athenian girl, perhaps,
Upon her hand this gem displayed,
Nor thought that time’s succeeding lapse
Should see it grace a lovelier maid.
Look, dearest, what a sweet design!
The more we gaze, it charms the more;
Come — closer bring that cheek to mine,
And trace with me its beauties o’er.
Thou seest, it is a simple youth
By some enamored nymph embraced —
Look, as she leans, and say in sooth
Is not that hand most fondly placed?
Upon his curled head behind
It seems in careless play to lie,
Yet presses gently, half inclined
To bring the truant’s lip more nigh.
Oh happy maid! Too happy boy!
The one so fond and little loath,
The other yielding slow to joy —
Oh rare, indeed, but blissful both.
Imagine, love, that I am he,
And just as warm as he is chilling;
Imagine, too, that thou art she,
But quite as coy as she is willing:
So may we try the graceful way
In which their gentle arms are twined,
And thus, like her, my hand I lay
Upon thy wreathed locks behind:
And thus I feel thee breathing sweet,
As slow to mine thy head I move;
And thus our lips together meet,
And thus, — and thus, — I kiss thee, love.
* * * * *
There’s not a look, a word of thine,
My soul hath e’er forgot;
Thou ne’er hast bid a ringlet shine,
Nor given thy locks one graceful twine
Which I remember not.
There never yet a murmur fell
From that beguiling tongue,
Which did not, with a lingering spell,
Upon thy charmed senses dwell,
Like songs from Eden sung.
Ah! that I could, at once, forget
All, all that haunts me so—
And yet, thou witching girl,—and yet,
To die were sweeter than to let
The loved remembrance go.
No; if this slighted heart must see
Its faithful pulse decay,
Oh let it die, remembering thee,
And, like the burnt aroma, be
Consumed in sweets away.