Tutta la mia fiorita e verde etade.
JUST WHEN HE MIGHT FAIRLY HOPE SOME RETURN OF AFFECTION, ENVIOUS DEATH CARRIES HER OFF.
All my green years and golden prime of man
Had pass'd away, and with attemper'd sighs
My bosom heaved--ere yet the days arise
When life declines, contracting its brief span.
Already my loved enemy began
To lull suspicion, and in sportive guise,
With timid confidence, though playful, wise,
In gentle mockery my long pains to scan:
The hour was near when Love, at length, may mate
With Chastity; and, by the dear one's side,
The lover's thoughts and words may freely flow:
Death saw, with envy, my too happy state,
E'en its fair promise--and, with fatal pride,
Strode in the midway forth, an armèd foe!
Now of my life each gay and greener year
Pass'd by, and cooler grew each hour the flame
With which I burn'd: and to that point we came
Whence life descends, as to its end more near;
Now 'gan my lovely foe each virtuous fear
Gently to lay aside, as safe from blame;
And though with saint-like virtue still the same,
Mock'd my sweet pains indeed, but deign'd to hear
Nigh drew the time when Love delights to dwell
With Chastity; and lovers with their mate
Can fearless sit, and all they muse of tell.
Death envied me the joys of such a state;
Nay, e'en the hopes I form'd: and on them fell
E'en in midway, like some arm'd foe in wait.
ANON., OX., 1795.