It is not Beauty I demand,
A crystal brow, the moon's despair,
Nor the snow's daughter, a white hand,
Nor mermaid's yellow pride of hair:
Tell me not of your starry eyes,
Your lips that seem on roses fed,
Your breasts, where Cupid tumbling lies,
Nor sleeps for kissing of his bed:—
A bloomy pair of vermeil cheeks
Like Hebe's in her ruddiest hours,
A breath that softer music speaks
Than summer winds a-wooing flowers,
These are but gauds: nay what are lips?
Coral beneath the ocean-stream,
Whose brink when your adventurer slips
Full oft he perisheth on them.
And what are cheeks but ensigns oft
That wave hot youth to fields of blood?
Did Helen's breast, though ne'er so soft,
Do Greece or Ilium any good?
Eyes can with baleful ardour burn;
Poison can breath that erst perfumed;
There's many a white hand holds an urn
With lovers' hearts to dust consumed.
For crystal brows there's nought within;
They are but empty cells for pride;
He who the Syren's hair would win
Is mostly strangled in the tide.
Give me, instead of Beauty's bust,
A tender heart, a loyal mind
Which with temptation I would trust,
Yet never link'd with error find,—
One in whose gentle bosom I
Could pour my secret heart of woes,
Like the care-burthen'd honey-fly
That hides his murmurs in the rose,—
My earthly Comforter! whose love
So indefeasible might be
That, when my spirit wonn'd above,
Hers could not stay, for sympathy.