Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772-1834 / Devon / England)

To An Unfortunate Woman At The Theatre


Maiden, that with sullen brow
Sitt'st behind those virgins gay,
Like a scorched and mildew'd bough,
Leafless mid the blooms of May.

Him who lured thee and forsook,
Oft I watch'd with angry gaze,
Fearful saw his pleading look,
Anxious heard his fervid phrase.

Soft the glances of the youth,
Soft his speech, and soft his sigh;
But no sound like simple truth,
But no true love in his eye.

Loathing thy polluted lot,
Hie thee, maiden, hie thee hence!
Seek thy weeping mother's cot,
With a wiser innocence.

Thou hast known deceit and folly,
Thou hast felt that vice is woe;
With a musing melancholy,
Inly armed, go, maiden! go.

Mother, sage of self dominion,
Firm thy steps, O melancholy!
The strongest plume in wisdom's pinion
Is the memory of past folly.

Mute the sky-lark and forlorn
While she moults the firstling plumes,
That had skimm'd the tender corn,
Or the bean-field's odorous blooms.

Soon with renovated wing,
Shall she dare a loftier flight,
Upward to the day-star spring,
And embathe in heavenly light.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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