To Lady Matilda Stewart

B EAUTY , Innocence, and Youth,
Hear the sacred voice of Truth!
Hope's a cheat, and Pleasure flies —
To be lov'd is Nature's prize.
You are from a Parent sprung,
Who had beauty, and was young —
Rich in talents, grac'd with art,
But her aim was at the heart.
She disclaim'd the wreath she won —
All her pride was — to have none.
She had gifts for young and old,
Never stately, never cold;
Perdita , whom Shakespeare drew,
She could every day renew.
Mark the gems that still adorn
Skirts and shadows of the morn.
Where is Time, that can deface
Love's enchanting air and grace,
Charms that, animating her,
Drop the tell-tale Register,
And in Autumn's gloom can play
With a vernal sun-beam's ray?
You are lov'd — and are desir'd;
You have gifts that are inspir'd:
Ere it falls, oh, catch her spirit,
And the robe she wears inherit!
You shall answer for the cost,
If her mantle should be lost.
Could I ever chance to hear
You are lost in Pride's career;
Or, in Fashion's leaden sleep,
Dare not laugh, and scorn to weep;
Toss in air that graceful head,
And in chains of ice are led: —
I shall say, but through a tear,
" Fanny's Daughter is not here. "
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