To Mrs. Henry Siddons by Frances Anne Kemble
O lady! thou, who in the olden time
Hadst been the star of many a poet’s dream!
Thou, who unto a mind of mould sublime,
Weddest the gentle graces that beseem
Fair woman’s best! forgive the daring line
That falters forth thy praise! nor let thine eye
Glance o’er the vain attempt too scornfully,
But, as thou read’st, think what a love was mine,
That made me venture on a theme, that none
Can know thee, and not feel a hopeless one.
Thou art most fair, though sorrow’s chastening wing
Hath past, and left its shadow on thy brow.
And solemn thoughts are gently mellowing
The splendour of thy beauty’s summer now.
Thou art most fair! but thine is loveliness
That dwells not only on the lip, or eye,
Thy beauty, is thy pure heart’s holiness,
Thy grace, thy lofty spirit’s majesty.
While thus I gaze on thee, and watch thee glide,
Like some calm spirit o’er life’s troubled stream,
With thy twin buds of beauty by thy side
Together blossoming, I almost deem
That I behold the loveliness and truth,
That like fair visions hovered round my youth,
Long sought—and then forgotten as a dream.