This conversation suggested the following lines, which I wish I could translate into French verse to give to Madame C——:
Snowy blossoms of the
That now o’er care-worn temples wave,
Oh! what change hath pass’d since ye
O’er youthful brows fell carelessly!
In silken curls of ebon hue
That with such wild luxuriance grew,
The raven’s dark and glossy wing
A richer shadow scarce could fling.
The brow that tells a tale of Care
That Sorrow’s pen hath written there,
In characters too deeply traced
Ever on earth to be effaced,
Was then a page of spotless white,
Where Love himself might wish to write.
The jetty arches that did rise,
As if to guard the brilliant eyes,
Have lost their smoothness;—and no more
The eyes can sparkle as of yore:
They look like fountains form’d by tears,
Where perish’d Hope in by-gone years.
The nose that served as bridge between
The brow and mouth—for Love, I ween,
To pass—hath lost its sculptured air.
For Time, the spoiler, hath been there.
The mouth—ah! where’s the crimson dye
That youth and health did erst supply?
Are these pale lips that seldom smile,
The same that laugh’d, devoid of guile.
Shewing within their coral cell
The shining pearls that there did dwell,
But dwell no more? The pearls are fled,
And homely teeth are in their stead.
The cheeks have lost the blushing rose
That once their surface could disclose;
A dull, pale tint has spread around,
Where rose and lily erst were found.
The throat, and bust—but, ah! forbear,
Let’s draw a veil for ever there;
Too fearful is ’t to put in rhyme
The changes wrought by cruel Time,
The faithful mirror well reveals
The truth that flattery conceals;
The charms once boasted, now are flown,
But mind and heart are still thine own;
And thou canst see the wreck of years,
And ghost of beauty, without tears.
No outward change thy soul shouldst wring,
Oh! mourn but for the change within;
Grieve over bright illusions fled,
O’er fondly cherish’d hope, now dead,
O’er errors of the days of youth,
Ere wisdom taught the path of truth.
Then hail, ye blossoms of the grave,
That o’er the care-worn temples wave—
Sent to remind us of “that bourn,
Whence traveller can ne’er return;”
The harbingers of peace and rest,
Where only mortals can be blest.