Atticus to Rodelinda

Miss Vardill

Did I say that the violet linger’d the last
In the dark hollow bosom of sunshine bereft?
O no! still unshrunk and unsear’d by the blast
One smooth olive leaf in its covert is left.
Sweet Rhoda! the violet balmy and brief
Awhile like the mem’ry of pleasure may bloom,
But faith such as thine is the ever-green leaf
That shelters the ruin and clings to the tomb.

Believe’d they, my love, it would wound thee to know
One cherish’d illusion remains of my youth?
No — sweetly the morning-mists melt and bestow
Their dews on the roots of affection and truth.
Nor ever in envy will Rodelind mock
The rich recollections that linger unseen,
Nor grieve that her image is plac’d on a rock
Whose chasms reveal where a treasure has been.

For there is a light in her eye and her heart
More pure than the blaze of the charms I resign:
Of joy in the world I disdain not a part,
But Rhoda! the whole, when I seek it, is thine.
Let Wit find “a vase” for his gay summer-flow’rs — 
No fairer I ask than my Rodelind’s breast;
Wit’s casket may glitter a few frolic hours
But Woman’s kind heart is the true Attic Chest.

May ever its deepest recesses be grac’d
With flow’rs such as flourish in Life’s rosy morn,
A wreath by the soft hand of amity plac’d,
Unstain’d by a canker — unarm’d by a thorn!
When their bright colours fade and their odours are fled,
When only the heart that enrich’d them remains,
That heart, like the urn which is due to the dead,
Shall hallow for ever the hoard it contains.

A. S…..

May 29th 1817