What wondrous beauty! From this moment I
efface from my mind all women.
Terence [Eunuch II.3.296]
Fill for me a brimming bowl
And let me in it drown my soul:
But put therein some drug, designed
To banish Woman from my mind:
For I want not the stream inspiring
That heats the sense with lewd desiring,
But I want as deep a draught
As e’er from Lethe’s waves was quaffed;
From my despairing breast to charm
The Image of the fairest form
That e’er my revelling eyes beheld,
That e’er my wandering fancy spelled.
‘Tis vain! away I cannot chase
The melting softness of that face,
The beaminess of those bright eyes,
That breast – earth’s only Paradise.
My sight will never more be blessed;
For all I see has lost its zest:
Nor with delight can I explore
The Classic page, the Muse’s lore.
Had she but known how beat my heart,
And with one smile relieved its smart,
I should have felt a sweet relief,
I should have felt ‘the joy of grief’.
Yet as a Tuscan ‘mid the snow
Of Lapland thinks on sweet Arno,
Even so for ever shall she be
The Halo of my Memory.