Say, why is the stern eye averted with scorn
Of the stoic who passes along?
And why frowns the maid, else as mild as the morn.
On the victim of falsehood and wrong?
For the wretch sunk in sorrow, repentance, and shame,
The tear of compassion is won:
And alone must she forfeit the wretch's sad claim,
Because she's deceived and undone?
Oh! recal the stern look, ere it reaches her heart,
To bid its wounds rankle anew;
Oh! smile, or embalm with a tear the sad smart,
And angels will smile upon you.
Time was, when she knew nor opprobrium nor pain,
And youth could its pleasures impart,
Till some serpent distill'd through her bosom the stain,
As he wound round the strings of her heart.
Poor girl! let thy tears through thy blandishments break,
Nor strive to retrace them within;
For mine would I mingle with those on thy cheek,
Nor think that such sorrow were sin.
When the low-trampled reed, and the pine in its pride,
Shall alike feel the hand of decay,
May thy God grant that mercy the world has denied,
And wipe all your sorrows away!