To Mrs. Bl----.

A poem by Thomas Moore


They say that Love had once a book
(The urchin likes to copy you),
Where, all who came, the pencil took,
And wrote, like us, a line or two.

'Twas Innocence, the maid divine,
Who kept this volume bright and fair.
And saw that no unhallowed line
Or thought profane should enter there;

And daily did the pages fill
With fond device and loving lore,
And every leaf she turned was still
More bright than that she turned before.

Beneath the touch of Hope, how soft,
How light the magic pencil ran!
Till Fear would come, alas, as oft,
And trembling close what Hope began.

A tear or two had dropt from Grief,
And Jealousy would, now and then,
Ruffle in haste some snow-white leaf,
Which Love had still to smooth again.

But, ah! there came a blooming boy,
Who often turned the pages o'er,
And wrote therein such words of joy,
That all who read them sighed for more.

And Pleasure was this spirit's name,
And though so soft his voice and look,
Yet Innocence, whene'er he came,
Would tremble for her spotless book.

For, oft a Bacchant cup he bore,
With earth's sweet nectar sparkling bright;
And much she feared lest, mantling o'er,
Some drops should on the pages light.

And so it chanced, one luckless night,
The urchin let that goblet fall
O'er the fair book, so pure, so white,
And sullied lines and marge and all!

In vain now, touched with shame, he tried
To wash those fatal stains away;
Deep, deep had sunk the sullying tide,
The leaves grew darker everyday.

And Fancy's sketches lost their hue,
And Hope's sweet lines were all effaced,
And Love himself now scarcely knew
What Love himself so lately traced.

At length the urchin Pleasure fled,
(For how, alas! could Pleasure stay?)
And Love, while many a tear he shed,
Reluctant flung the book away.

The index now alone remains.
Of all the pages spoiled by Pleasure,
And though it bears some earthly stains,
Yet Memory counts the leaf a treasure.

And oft, they say, she scans it o'er,
And oft, by this memorial aided,
Brings back the pages now no more,
And thinks of lines that long have faded.

I know not if this tale be true,
But thus the simple facts are stated;
And I refer their truth to you,
Since Love and you are near related.

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