To the Priestess of the Attic Chest or Euphrosyne
Once more a voice demands from friendship’s shrine
The yearly tribute to my Valentine.
But now a recreant from the Muses’ train
My hands would strive to tune the lyre in vain;
Now all unskilled to court the opening spring
Or seek fresh fragrance from the zephyr’s wing
To mark where dewdrops on the lily rise
Whose beauteous bosom with the sunbeam vies;
To praise the cheek where varying roses bloom
Or brilliant lips whence sylphids kiss perfume
To praise the locks where thousand graces play,
Where the loves lurk and o’er our hearts hold sway;
How can I dare to paint my Valentine
When various beauties, various talents join
Where I behold “the purple light of youth”,
Led by fair candour, loveliest child of truth
Let then these wishes for my fault alone,
Ah! let them make my warm affection known.
May the best Muse on thee her influence shed
And twine her favourite bay branch round thy head;
May distant times with transport hear thy song
And fame in distant climes thy praise prolong
May health encircled by unnumbered years
Attend on thee unstained by grief or tears.
Still may simplicity they steps attend
Thy sweet companion, monitor and friend.
Long in that circle where thy polished lays
Have shone resplendent with superior blaze
Long mayst thou reign unrivalled in esteem
Long for our joy may thy good humour beam
And there where no wit sarcastic dares intrude
Long mayst thou bind our hearts in charms of gratitude