Samuel Johnson

(1709 - 1784 / Lichfield / England)

To Miss --, - Poem by Samuel Johnson

{On her playing upon the harpsichord in
a room hung with flower-pieces of her own painting}.

When Stella strikes the tuneful string
In scenes of imitated Spring,
Where beauty lavishes her powers
On beds of never-fading flowers,
And pleasure propagates around
Each charm of modulated sound;
Ah! think not in the dangerous hour,
The nymph fictitious as the flower;
But shun, rash youth, the gay alcove,
Nor tempt the snares of wily love.
When charms thus press on every sense,
What thought of flight or of defence?
Deceitful hope, and vain desire,
For ever flutter o'er her lyre,
Delighting as the youth draws nigh,
To point the glances of her eye,
And forming with unerring art
New chains to hold the captive heart.
But on those regions of delight,
Might truth intrude with daring flight,
Could Stella, sprightly, fair, and young,
One moment hear the moral song,
Instruction with her flowers might spring,
And wisdom warble from her string.
Mark when from thousand mingled dyes
Thou seest one pleasing form arise,
How active light and thoughtful shade,
In greater scenes each other aid;
Mark when the different notes agree
In friendly contrariety,
How passion's well-accorded strife
Gives all the harmony of life.
Thy pictures shall thy conduct frame,
Consistent still, though not the same;
Thy music teach the nobler art,
To tune the regulated heart.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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