The Poetry Corner

Book IV. Ode I. To Venus.

By Alexander Pope

Again? new tumults in my breast? Ah, spare me, Venus! let me, let me rest! I am not now, alas! the man As in the gentle reign of my Queen Anne. Ah, sound no more thy soft alarms, Nor circle sober fifty with thy charms. Mother too fierce of dear desires! Turn, turn to willing hearts your wanton fires, To Number Five direct your doves, There spread round Murray all your blooming loves Noble and young, who strikes the heart With every sprightly, every decent part; Equal, the injured to defend, To charm the mistress, or to fix the friend. He, with a hundred arts refined, Shall stretch thy conquests over half the kind; To him each rival shall submit, Make but his riches equal to his wit. Then shall thy form the marble grace, (Thy Grecian form) and Chloe lend the face: His house, embosom'd in the grove, Sacred to social life and social love, Shall glitter o'er the pendant green, Where Thames reflects the visionary scene: Thither, the silver-sounding lyres Shall call the smiling Loves, and young Desires; There, every Grace and Muse shall throng, Exalt the dance, or animate the song; There, youths and nymphs, in consort gay, Shall hail the rising, close the parting day. With me, alas! those joys are o'er; For me, the vernal garlands bloom no more. Adieu![170] fond hope of mutual fire, The still believing, still-renew'd desire; Adieu! the heart-expanding bowl, And all the kind deceivers of the soul! But why? ah, tell me, ah, too dear! Steals down my cheek th' involuntary tear? Why words so flowing, thoughts so free, Stop, or turn nonsense, at one glance of thee? Thee, dress'd in fancy's airy beam, Absent I follow through th' extended dream; Now, now I seize, I clasp thy charms, And now you burst (ah, cruel!) from my arms; And swiftly shoot along the Mall, Or softly glide by the canal, Now shown by Cynthia's silver ray, And now on rolling waters snatch'd away.