1805 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Tighe

Thomas Moore, "To Mrs. Henry Tighe on reading her Psyche" 1805 ca.; Poetical Works, ed. Godley (1929) 69-70.



Tell me the witching tale again,
For never has my heart or ear
Hung on so sweet, so pure a strain,
So pure to feel, so sweet to hear.

Say, Love, in all thy prime of fame,
When the high heaven itself was thine;
When piety confess'd the flame,
And even thy errors were divine;

Did ever Muse's hand, so fair,
A glory round thy temples spread?
Did ever lip's ambrosial air
Such fragrance o'er thy altars shed?

One maid there was, who round her lyre
The mystic myrtle wildly wreath'd;—
But all her sighs were sighs of fire,
The myrtle wither'd as she breath'd.

Oh! you, that love's celestial dream,
In all its purity, would know,
Let not the senses' ardent beam
Too strongly through the vision glow.

Love safest lies, conceal'd in night,
The night where heaven has bid him lie;
Oh! shed not there unhallow'd light,
Or, Psyche knows, the boy will fly.

Sweet Psyche, many a charmed hour,
Through many a wild and magic waste,
To the fair fount and blissful bower
Have I, in dreams, thy light foot trac'd!

Where'er thy joys are number'd now,
Beneath whatever shades of rest,
The Genius of the starry brow
Hath bound thee to thy Cupid's breast;

Whether above the horizon dim,
Along whose verge our spirits stray,—
Half sunk beneath the shadowy rim,
Half brighten'd by the upper ray,—

Thou dwellest in a world, all light,
Or, lingering here, dost love to be,
To other souls, the guardian bright
That Love was, through this gloom, to thee;

Still be the song to Psyche dear,
The song, whose gentle voice was given
To be, on earth, to mortal ear,
An echo of her own, in heaven.