»What wondrous beauty! From this moment
I efface from my mind all women.«
Terence's Eunuch. Act 2. Sc.
Fill for me a brimming bowl,
And let me in it drown my soul:
But put therein some drug design'd
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 quaft,
From my despairing breast to charm
The image of the fairest form
That e'er my rev'ling eyes beheld,
That e'er my wand'ring fancy spell'd!
'Tis vain – away I cannot chace
The melting softness of that face –
The beaminess of those bright eyes –
That breast, earth's only paradise!
My sight will never more be blest,
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 reliev'd 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;
So for ever shall she be
The halo of my memory.