1835 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Emma Catherine Embury, "Twelve Years Ago" Poems (1869) 258-60.



Twelve years ago! how strange it seems
To wander so far back,
And see so many mile-stones stand
Along life's o'erpast track!
Twelve years ago my steps were light
Beneath youth's bright sunshine,
For then I was but seventeen,
Now I am twenty-nine.

Twelve years ago I loved to pore
O'er tales of wild romance
(Those tales that lull the heart so soon
In passion's rapturous trance),
And pined to meet on this dull earth
With beings so divine;
My longings have been long since done,
For I am twenty-nine.

I loved Miss Landon's poetry then,
Hung o'er each witching strain,
And, could my lips have coined such words,
Had answered such again;
No empty phrases then I saw,
I marked no rugged line—
But something more than sentiment
I seek at twenty-nine.

I did not then sit coldly down
To learn an author's style,
Fancy and feeling — these alone
My taste could then beguile;
I pondered o'er the dreams which youth
Can feel but not define;
I can describe, not feel them now,
Since I am twenty-nine.

Twelve years ago I loved to sit
At sunset's gorgeous hour,
And image in the rosy clouds
My own bright summer bower.
But who when gazing through lunettes
Air-castles could design?
My chateaux now are built on earth,
Since I am twenty-nine.

No more ethereal in my tastes,
I've learned, as I'm a sinner,
To make a breakfast on hot rolls,
And eat beefsteaks for dinner;
And sometimes, too, I sip a glass
Of good old racy wine;
I never did such vulgar things
Ere I was twenty-nine.

'Tis not a pleasant thing to know
That we are growing old,
For no one likes to watch Time's glass,
E'en when its sands are gold.
My days of young romance are past,
Yet why should I repine?
No dream in youth was half so sweet
As truth at twenty-nine.