To Olivia

Miss Vardill

This day to common love is dear,
And many a tale will soothe thine ear
 Fond hope or frolic with to prove:
The theme of minstrelsy I change — 
I bring a tribute new and strange;
 A tale of hatred, not of love!
I love thee not! — did ever zeal
A rarer miracle reveal
 Thy pity or thy mirth to move?
’Tis true — for all thy faults I guess,
And strive to make thy beauties less — 
 What more is hate if this be love?
Thy wit is false, for when my cheek
Fades with the fear which cannot speak,
 My pangs thy careless jest improve:
And while I tremble, how much guile
Lurks in thy lip and points thy smile, — 
 The smile which stings yet wakens Love!
Thine eye — a scorching fire is there,
For tho’ I chide, I never dare
 The keenness of its flash to prove;
Thy voice has won the elf-harp’s sound,
I hear it, and my tongue is bound
 Or wanders into words of love.
Behold thy faults! — but keep them all
That I my senses may recall
 When spell-bound in thy sphere they rove: — 
My malice as thy pride is great,
There is no language fits my hate
 Unless it tells thee that — I love!

Feb. 14th 1815