Village-Born Beauty

See the star-breasted villain,
To yonder cot bound,
Where the sweet honeysuckle
Entwines it round,
Yet sweeter, far sweeter,
Than flower e'er seen,
Is the poor hedger's daughter,
The pride of the green.
But more, never more,
Will she there please all eyes;
Her peace of mind withers,
Her happiness flies!
She pauses, sighs, trembles,
And yet dares to roam,
The village-born beauty's
Seduced from her home.

From a post-chaise and four
She's in London set down,
Where robbed of her virtue,
She's launched on the town;
Her carriage, her servants,
And jewels so gay,
Tell how high she is kept,
And o'er all bears the sway;
At the opera — the playhouse,
The parks and elsewhere,
Her beauty outrivals
Each beauty that's there;
And while, big with envy,
Her downfall they tell,
The village-born beauty
O'er all bears the belle.

But soon from indifference,
Caprice, or what not —
She's turned on the world —
By her keeper forgot;
Yet, fond to be flattered,
And fettered in vice,
She's this man's or that,
As he comes to her price;
At length, growing stale,
All her finery sold,
In the bloom of her youth,
Through disease looking old,
Forsook by her lovers,
And sought for no more,
The village-born beauty,
Becomes quite impure.

Up lanes and through alleys
She now takes her way,
Exposed to all weathers
By night and by day:
Cold, houseless and shivering,
And wet to the skin,
With glass after glass
Drowns her sorrows in gin;
Distress'd, sore and ragged,
Sad, friendless and poor,
She's borne to some garret,
Or workhouse obscure;
Breathes a prayer hope to heaven
A sinner to save!
When the village-born beauty
Is laid in the grave.

Then pity, ye fair ones,
Nor be too severe,
And give a frail sister
The boon of a tear!
When prone to condemn them,
Reflect, think awhile —
That the heart often bleeds
When the face wears a smile.
Think, too, how to beauty
They oft owe their fall,
And what may through vice
Be the fate of you all;
And O, while sweet innocence
Bears the proud sway,
May hell seize the villain
That smiles to betray.
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