George Lord Lyttelton, “A Prayer to Venus in her Temple at Stowe”

[ GEORGE LORD LYTTELTON]

“A Prayer to VENUS in her Temple at STOWE”
To the Same.

I.
Fair Venus, whose delightful shrine surveys
ItsIts front reflected in the silver lake,
These humble off’rings, which thy servant pays,
Fresh flowers, and myrtle wreaths, propitious take.

II.
If less my love exceeds all other love,                                                          5
Than Lucy’s charms all other charms excel,
Far from my breast each soothing hope remove,
And there let sad despair for ever dwell.

III.
But if my soul is fill’d with her alone,
No other wish, nor other object knows,                                             10
Oh! make her, Goddess make her all my own,
And give my trembling heart secure repose.

IV.
No watchful spies I ask to guard her charms,
No walls of brass, no steel-defended door;
Place her but once within my circling arms,                                               15
Love’s surest fort, and I will doubt no more.

NOTES:

Title Venus The goddess of love and beauty; Temple The Temple of Venus, a Palladian building designed by landscape architect William Kent (c. 1685-1748); Stowe The Buckinghamshire estate of Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham (1675-1749), renowned for its extensive gardens (Wikipedia).

Subtitle To the Same Lyttelton’s first wife, Lucy Fortescue, who died January 19, 1747.

2 silver lake Kent Located the Temple of Venus in the southwest corner of the gardens on the far side of a large lake (Wikipedia).

4 myrtle A type of flower that was anciently held sacred to Venus and used as an emblem of love.

Source: A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes, Volume 2 (London, 1782), p. 67. [Google Books]

Edited by Alexandra Cuervo


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