Anna Laetitia Barbauld

(20 June 1743 – 9 March 1825 / Leicestershire, England)

To The Miss Websters - Poem by Anna Laetitia Barbauld


Not this the Wish in life's first, gayest page,
Becomes your opening years and golden prime;
Not these the hopes should your soft thoughts engage,
Whose buds of joy are yet uncropt by Time.
When blood begins to creep, when fled is youth,
And nature verges toward lethargic rest,
Gardens and groves the languid mind may soothe,
And fire-side comforts satisfy the breast.

For you, quick Fancy spreads her brightest stores,
Paints high the colour of each opening joy,
Enthusiastic hope to rapture soars,
And untried scenes the busy thoughts employ.
O may her soft enchantment late prolong
The fond romance of innocence and youth!
To elder life no happier hours belong,
No richer cordial dealt by hoary Truth.
Nor fear, while you the gaudy dream pursue,
Life's serious aim and sober joys to miss:
While fluttering pulses dance, and scenes are new,
Your Wish is transport, and your Hopes are bliss.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010

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