near Addle Street
May 4th 1816
Your well-known benevolence and compassion for the unfortunate, added to your acquaintance with the late inmates of Positive House, have induced me to take a step which delicacy trembles at; to unbosom my sorrows to a stranger — your generous heart will appreciate the feelings under which I write, and therefore without further preface I shall inform you that till the fatal establishment of Positive House I was one of the happiest maids that ever washed her stockings in the blue wave of Castalia. I was called lovely — I was indeed loving — and I was taught to believe myself — LOVED! Yes, Madam, the young, the elegant, the too-fascinating Atticus Scriblerus, capable of instructing Ovid himself, subdued my soul to a tenderness which I fondly believed reciprocal till his residence in that seminary of imposture and quackery threw him under the influence of Miss Rodelinda Stormont. It is not for an unfortunate like me to indulge in scandal; but if admitted to your tea table “I could a tale unfold”. Alas! ’tis enough for me to know that her witchery has seduced my Atticus, and as I am credibly informed he still corresponds with you, I entreat you to convey to him the enclosed. If it be not yet late it may recall his wandering heart: if it be, it will inflict a well-earned pang; and its publication in your Chest will unmask the hypocrite.
Adieu, dear Madam,
forgive and pity
To the too-fascinating Atticus the Faithless
No more I trace the tale of love and joy,
Yet tuneful verses must still my hours employ;
To Atticus I bid my numbers flow,
But sad’s the stream, for ah! the source is woe!
In tears I dip, with sighs I chafe, the line —
Not gay Thalia’s wreaths I seek to twine —
Mid cypress bowers the mournful verse I muse —
Wilt thou to hear my sad complaint refuse?
Once thou wast wont to grant each little pray’r,
And vow refusing me would be despair.
Now, Atticus, thou’st cut my heart in twain,
And killed thy Mopsey o’er and o’er again.
Till now with smiles and mirth I’ve vainly strove
To hide from all the anxious fears of love.
Yes, yes, those peals of laughter were but lies
T’elude the questions of vain busy eyes,
Whose searching looks would sound my joyless heart,
And seemed to doubt I only shammed my part.
Now the dull task of my feigned joy is o’er,
And tears efface the smiling mask I wore.
Why was thy hand so cold I fondly pressed?
Why thy eye stern? it once such love expressed!
Why pale thy cheeks once tinged with rose hue?
Why did thy lips so falter forth — “Adieu!”
Alas! you loved me not, I’m well assured —
Or if you did, your passion now is cured.
Your jeu d’esprit I now see never came
From one inspired with a lover’s flame;
Tho’ with the lines you oft addressed to Mopsey,
You twined my head and heart both turvey-topsy.
I owned my passion, Sir, you can’t mistake me,
But ah! your vile intent is to forsake me!
Your eyes told falsehoods when you bade them smile,
Meant to show love, but murder all the while,
Yes, Faithless, if you read the daily news,
Within a week hence you shall there peruse
Sad tidings of my death; for strait I’ll go
I’th’river Serpentine myself to throw:
And that such arts may never more deceive,
My sad sad story to the world I’ll leave.
These lines my tombstone, graved in letters fair,
These lines my tombstone, faithless man, shall bear —
In an untimely grave a maid here lies,
Who credit gave to Atticus’ false eyes;
Gave up her heart, ’twas all she could, for he
Ne’er spake a syllable of Matrimony.
So, left at last forlorn to sigh and whine,
She threw herself into the Serpentine.
Thus to the world my sorrows I’ll proclaim
The graven records of Scriblerus’ shame,
That the censorious world may know where lies the blame.