Messalina - Poem by Alfred Austin
The gloss is fading from your hair,
The glamour from your brow;
The light your eyes were wont to wear
Attracts no gazer now.
O'er sunny forehead, smiling lips,
And cheeks of rosy roundness, slips
A cruel, premature eclipse,
Time should not yet allow.
I think of one whose homestead lies
A stone's-throw from your own,
Who, spite of sorrow in her eyes,
Hath but more comely grown;
Who, robbed while scarce a four-year's bride,
Of him, her husband, joy and pride,
Whilst yours still labours at your side,
Is lovely, though alone.
For know, 'tis not from loss of state,
Nor e'en from loved one's death,
Nor any stroke of Time or Fate,
That true grace suffereth:
That virtue hath a secret charm,
Age cannot wither, sorrow harm,
Which keepeth even beauty warm
After surcease of breath.
Know, furthermore, that wants debased,
Void restlessness in crime,
Have almost wholly now defaced
What had been spared by Time;
That, soul shut in, while sense ajar,
Joys which, not mending nature, mar,
Entered, and left you what you are-
A ruin-ere your prime!
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