Tag Archives: personification

“I.O.,” “Reason’s Expostulation with Love”

“I. O.”

 REASON’S Expostulation with LOVE”

 FOND, feverish boy, why madly feed
A restless love, without an end?
Say, to what good those wishes lead,
Or whither does thy passion tend.
The flame you nurse, that very flame                                                                               5
Shall prove a serpent in your breast;
Of strength shall rob your sickly frame,
Your days of work, your nights of rest.
Say that thy love can’t injure thee,
Yet, for her sake, oh! quench the fire;                                                                       10
Think how you’d wrong the maid and me,
If once you kindled soft desire!
Thou know’st the nymph can ne’er be thine,
Then why thus every art essay?
How canst thou first her hand resign,                                                                               15
Then try to steal her heart away?
Grant that heart be all thine own,
Grant that her love thy love exceed —
‘Twere better far t’ endure alone,
Than teach the maid like thee to bleed.                                                                    20
Would’st thou for this her heart obtain?
E’en like a wanton puling boy,
Who first a play-thing cries to gain,
And, when he’s gain’d it, breaks the toy.
Would love, did love do her no harm,                                                                                 25
From passion’s ills thy soul release?
Would that which made her bosom warm,
Restore thy long-forgotten peace?
Thou canst not bear th’ averted cheek,
Thou canst not bear her silent eye:                                                                             30
How could’st thou bear those eyes that speak,
How could’st thou bear th’ impassion’d sigh?
Nought that she does thy soul can please:
Tho’ Scorn may make thy fetters grind,
No smiles can make them fit with ease,                                                                              35
And Scorn itself can ne’er unbind.
The cold indifference of her looks
Thy love-sick heart can ill endure;
And if her frown thy flame rebukes,
The pain it gives admits no cure.                                                                                  40
If she be kind, what boots it more?
It tells how Fate thy doom has fixt,
And wider sets the distant shore,
And clearer shews the gulf betwixt.
Why wilt thou rush to certain pain?                                                                                      45
To her thy foot why madly flies?
So seeks the silly moth her bane,
And courts the blaze by which she dies.
Say, can the bliss her presence brings
Reward an absent lover’s woe?                                                                                    50
Oft hast thou felt how parting stings,
And curst the cause that bade thee go.
And wilt thou seek her mansion yet?
Back shalt thou still return to Care;
To waste thine hours in vain regret;                                                                                   55
To wish thou ne’er hadst enter’d there.


Title REASON’S Expostulation with LOVE. A companion poem answering this one titled “LOVE’S Answer to REASON” was published on the same page in this issue.

22 puling “Crying querulously or weakly, as a child; whining, feebly wailing” (OED).

41 boots To boot: old English for use, profit, to be of advantage (Online Etymology Dictionary).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July, 1788), p. 640. [Hathi Trust]

 Edited by Annika Thiem

“I.O.,” “Love’s Answer to Reason”


LOVE’S Answer to REASON”

INTRUDER bold, whose impious tongue
Presumes to chide my hallow’d flame,
Art thou of earthly parents sprung?
Whence dost thou come? or what thy name?
Not earthly thou: some Hell-born foe,                                                                   5
Or sure some stranger from above:
Its nature well thou seem’st to know,
But ne’er did’st feel what ‘tis to love.
Give me a breast as cold as thine,
Or teach the maid to frown like thee;                                                              10
Then shall this soul no longer pine,
And thou alone shalt govern me.
But, whilst I view that eye so sweet,
And in that eye a sweeter mind,
Still may’st thou ever idly prate,                                                                               15
And preach thy lessons to the wind.
Go, tell the Sun to hide his fire,
And tell the stars to shine no more;
Go, bid the surges back retire,
Nor dare to lash the bellowing shore.                                                               20
Seek Bedlam’s din and mingled yells;
There, if thou canst, resume thy reign;
Bid Madness leave her iron cells,
And drag no more the clanking chain.
Go call her wand’ring senses home,                                                                          25
Her frantic rage and storms allay;
Or teach her fixt and sullen gloom
To laugh and dance the hours away.
Could’st thou but view my charmer’s form,
Or hear the music of her tongue,                                                                        30
Thine icy soul might then grow warm,
And Age itself once more be young.
Alas! I fear that hoary hair
Is not the badge of creeping Time;
Those locks from endless days you wear,                                                                  35
And never felt youth’s glowing prime.
That lifted eye, whose sharp rebuke
Still points to yonder starry pole —
It never knew the down-cast look,
Which marks the Lover’s pensive soul.                                                                40
The front sublime, whose angry lour
Would kill the flame I nourish here —
It never stoopt to Beauty’s pow’r,
Or fondly smooth’d the frown severe.
That trumpet tongue, whose harsher noise                                                              45
Would from this breast her image scare —
It never us’d the dulcet voice
Which Love employs to woo the Fair.
Till Grace itself can please no more,
Shall I not feel those charms divine?                                                                     50
How can I learn thy rigid lore,
Or leave her face to gaze on thine?
Oh! had my love that ugly frame,
Thy furrow’d brow, thine haggard eye,
This heart had never known a flame,                                                                           55
This breast had never learnt to sigh!


 Title: LOVE’S Answer to REASON This poem is the answer to “REASON’S Expostulation with LOVE,” which was published on the same page in this issue.

21 Bedlam Place or state of confusion or madness; reference to the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem in London which was an asylum from the 1400s through the eighteenth century (Online Etymology Dictionary).

 33 hoary Old, grey-haired (Online Etymology Dictionary).

41 lour Form of lower, a frown, scowl, dark and threatening appearance (Online Etymology Dictionary).

 48 dulcet Soothing, pleasant, sweet (OED).

Source: The Gentlemans Magazine (July, 1788), p. 640. [Hathi Trust]

 Edited by Annika Thiem

Richard Jago, “The Blackbirds”


“The Blackbirds”


The sun had chas’d the mountain snow,
And kindly loos’d the frozen soil,
The melting streams began to flow,
And ploughmen urg’d their annual toil.

‘Twas then, amid the vocal throng                                      5
Whom nature wakes to mirth and love,
A blackbird rais’d his am’rous song,
And thus it echo’d through the grove.

O fairest of the feather’d train!
For whom I sing, for whom I burn,                               10
Attend with pity to my strain,
And grant my love a kind return.

For see the wintry storms are flown,
And gently Zephyrs fan the air;
Let us the genial influence own,                                           15
Let us the vernal pastime share.

The raven plumes his jetty wing
To please his croaking paramour;
The larks responsive ditties sing,
And tell their passion as they soar.                               20

But trust me, love, the raven’s wing
Is not to be compar’d with mine;
Nor can the lark so sweetly sing
As I, who strength with sweetness join.

O! let me all thy steps attend!                                                  25
I’ll point new treasures to thy sight;
Whether the grove thy wish befriend,
Or hedge-rows green, or meadows bright.

I’ll shew my love the clearest rill
Whose streams among the pebbles stray:                      30
These will we sip, and sip our fill,
Or on the flow’ry margin play.

I’ll lead her to the thickest brake,
Impervious to the school-boy’s eye;
For her the plaister’d nest I’ll make,                                          35
And on her downy pinions lie.

When, prompted by a mother’s care,
Her warmth shall form th’ imprison’d young;
The pleasing task I’ll gladly share,
Or cheer her labors with my song.                                      40

To bring her food I’ll range the fields,
And cull the best of every kind;
Whatever nature’s bounty yields,
And love’s assiduous care can find.

And when my lovely mate would stray                                      45
To taste the summer sweets at large,
I’ll wait at home the live-long day,
And tend with care our little charge.

Then prove with me the sweets of love,
With me divide the cares of life;                                           50
No bush shall boast in all the grove
So fond a mate, so blest a wife.

He ceas’d his song. The melting dame
With soft indulgence heard the strain;
She felt, she own’d a mutual flame,                                             55
And hasted to relieve his pain.

He led her to the nuptial bower,
And nestled closely to her side;
The fondest bridegroom of that hour,
And she, the most delighted bride.                                      60

Next morn he wak’d her with a song,
“Behold, he said, the new-born day!
The lark his matin peal has rung,
Arise, my love, and come away.”

Together through the fields they stray’d,                                    65
And to the murm’ring riv’let’s side;
Renew’d their vows, and hopp’d and play’d,
With honest joy and decent pride.

When oh! with grief the Muse relates
The mournful sequel of my tale;                                            70
Sent by an order from the fates,
A gunner met them in the vale.

Alarm’d the lover cry’d, My dear,
Haste, haste away, from danger fly;
Here, gunner, point thy thunder here;                                         75
O spare my love, and let me die.

At him the gunner took his aim;
His aim, alas! was all too true:
O! had he chose some other game!
Or shot—as he was wont to do!                                            80

Divided pair! forgive the wrong,
While I with tears your fate rehearse;
I’ll join the widow’s plaintive song,
And save the lover in my verse.


7 blackbird Common Eurasian thrush, noted for its melodious song (OED).

14 Zephyr The west wind.

29 shews Period spelling of “show.” A rill is a small stream.

33 brake A thick stand of bushes or briars.

35 plaistr’d Period spelling of plastered.

36 pinions The terminal segment of a bird’s wing, bearing the primary flight feathers (OED).

57 bower A term for abode or cottage.

63 matin peal “Matin” is French for spring; “peal” is the ringing of a bell.

66 riv’let Rivulet, a small river or stream.

Source: Bell’s classical arrangement of fugitive poetry (London, 1789), vol. VIII, pp. 103-106. [ECCO]

Edited by Phillip Barron