Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan): Irish Woman Poet

Sydney Owenson (later Lady Morgan) (c. 1776-1859) was probably born at sea and lived in Dublin Lady_Morganwhen not on tour with her actor-manager father. She is best known now for her novel The Wild Irish Girl (1806) but was a prolific novelist, essayist and poet as well as being a professional singer. She settled in London in 1837.

Chloe and Cupid

— Amour! Tous les autres plaisirs, ne valent pas tes peines!
Chloe had heard of Cupid’s charms,
And long’d to lure him to her arms;
Vowing if Venus would consign him,
Her favorite monkey she’d resign him;
With parrots, dogs, birds, lovers part,
And all that now engaged her heart!
Smiling on the suppliant fair,
The goddess granted Chloe’s prayer;
Here, take the urchin, Venus said,
And gave him to the guileless maid;
While Chlo’ receives the dangerous boy,
As some amusing harmless toy!
Now in her circling arms she prest him,
Now playful chid, and now caress’d him,
Now fondly vow’d she should adore him,
Now toys and trinkets spread before him,
Now gaily join’d his infant plays,
And hung upon his witching lays!
Thus pass’d with love her careless hours,
Till one day trifling with the flowers,
That grac’d her bosom’s snowy pride,
Her favourite started, sob’d and cried, —
What ails my boy? says frighted Chlo’,
Why wrings his hands, why sobs he so? ”
Oh I am stung, for in your breast,
” Of serpents sure there lies a nest,
” Behold this finger,Cupid cries,
While tears ambrosial fill his eyes,
And then discover’d all his woes
Proceeded from a damask rose!
Nay, Chloe cries,” pain must be borne
” With patience; — see, ’tis but a thorn;
” Why would you then my flowers rifle,
” I’d blush to weep for such a trifle!
Resentful Cupid quick replied,
” Had you been stung so, you’d have cried;
” But since compassion you disown,
” Now judge my suff’rings by your own!
Then from his quiver snatch’d a dart,
And aiming, pierc’d poor Chloe’s heart!
” As many charms that bosom wears,
” So many thorns that bosom bears,
” The hearts of all mankind to sting;
He smiling said, then plumed his wing;
While Venus of his archness proud,
Receiv’d the traitor in a cloud;
And from experience sad poor Chlo’,
Has learnt to feel for others woe!



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