Odes To Nea; Written At Bermuda.

A poem by Thomas Moore

[Greek: NEA turannei]
EURPID. "Medea," v. 967.


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.

* * * * *

--tale iter omne cave.
PROPERT. lib. iv. eleg. 8.

I pray you, let us roam no more
Along that wild and lonely shore,
Where late we thoughtless strayed;
'Twas not for us, whom heaven intends
To be no more than simple friends,
Such lonely walks were made.

That little Bay, where turning in
From ocean's rude and angry din,
As lovers steal to bliss,
The billows kiss the shore, and then
Flow back into the deep again,
As though they did not kiss.

Remember, o'er its circling flood
In what a dangerous dream we stood--
The silent sea before us,
Around us, all the gloom of grove,
That ever lent its shade to love,
No eye but heaven's o'er us!

I saw you blush, you felt me tremble,
In vain would formal art dissemble
All we then looked and thought;
'Twas more than tongue could dare reveal,
'Twas every thing that young hearts feel,
By Love and Nature taught.

I stopped to cull, with faltering hand,
A shell that, on the golden sand,
Before us faintly gleamed;
I trembling raised it, and when you
Had kist the shell, I kist it too--
How sweet, how wrong it seemed!

Oh, trust me, 'twas a place, an hour,
The worst that e'er the tempter's power
Could tangle me or you in;
Sweet Nea, let us roam no more
Along that wild and lonely shore.
Such walks may be our ruin.

* * * * *

You read it in these spell-bound eyes,
And there alone should love be read;
You hear me say it all in sighs,
And thus alone should love be said.

Then dread no more; I will not speak;
Although my heart to anguish thrill,
I'll spare the burning of your cheek,
And look it all in silence still.

Heard you the wish I dared to name,
To murmur on that luckless night,
When passion broke the bonds of shame,
And love grew madness in your sight?

Divinely through the graceful dance,
You seemed to float in silent song,
Bending to earth that sunny glance,
As if to light your steps along.

Oh! how could others dare to touch
That hallowed form with hand so free,
When but to look was bliss too much,
Too rare for all but Love and me!

With smiling eyes, that little thought,
How fatal were the beams they threw,
My trembling hands you lightly caught,
And round me, like a spirit, flew.

Heedless of all, but you alone,--
And you, at least, should not condemn.
If, when such eyes before me shone,
My soul forgot all eyes but them,--

I dared to whisper passion's vow,--
For love had even of thought bereft me,--
Nay, half-way bent to kiss that brow,
But, with a bound, you blushing left me.

Forget, forget that night's offence,
Forgive it, if, alas! you can;
'Twas love, 'twas passion--soul and sense--
'Twas all that's best and worst in man.

That moment, did the assembled eyes
Of heaven and earth my madness view,
I should have seen, thro' earth and skies,
But you alone--but only you.

Did not a frown from you reprove.
Myriads of eyes to me were none;
Enough for me to win your love,
And die upon the spot, when won.

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