Clattery MacHinery on Poetry

July 18, 2006

Thomas Moore Needling & Lying

Filed under: Uncategorized — Clattery MacHinery @ 4:00 am

Thomas Moore, 1779-1852

* * *

Young Jessica

Young Jessica sat all the day,
    In love-dreams languishingly pining,
Her needle bright neglected lay,
    Like truant genius idly shining.
Jessy, ’tis in idle hearts
    That love and mischief are most nimble;
The safest shield against the darts
    Of Cupid, is Minerva’s thimble.

A child who with a magnet play’d,
    And knew its winning ways so wily,
The magnet near the needle laid,
    And laughing, said, “We’ll steal it slily.”
The needle, having naught to do,
    Was pleased to let the magnet wheedle,
Till closer still the tempter drew,
    And off, at length, eloped the needle.

Now, had this needle turn’d its eye
    To some gay reticule’s construction,
It ne’er had stray’d from duty’s tie,
    Nor felt a magnet’s sly seduction.
Girls would you keep tranquil hearts,
    Your snowy fingers must be nimble;
The safest shield against the darts
    Of Cupid, is Minerva’s thimble.

* * *

Nets and Cages

Come, listen to my story, while
    Your needle’s task you ply;
At what I sing some maids will smile,
    While some, perhaps, may sigh.
Though Love’s the theme, and Wisdom blames
    Such florid songs as ours,
Yet Truth, sometimes, like eastern dames,
    Can speak her thoughts by flowers.
Then listen, maids, come listen, while
    Your needle’s task you ply;
At what I sing there’s some may smile,
    While some, perhaps, will sigh.
Young Cloe, bent on catching Loves,
    Such nets had learn’d to frame,
That none, in all our vales and groves,
    Ere caught so much small game:
While gentle Sue, less given to roam,
    When Cloe’s nets were taking
These flights of birds, sat still at home,
    One small, neat Love-cage making.
            Come, listen, maids, etc.

Much Cloe laugh’d at Susan’s task;
    But mark how things went on:
These light-caught Loves, ere you could ask
    Their name and age, were gone!
So weak poor Cloe’s nets were wove,
    That, though she charm’d into them
New game each hour, the youngest Love
    Was able to break through them.
            Come, listen, maids, etc.

Meanwhile, young Sue, whose cage was wrought
    Of bars too strong to sever,
One love with golden pinions caught,
    And caged him there forever;
Instructing thereby, all coquettes,
    Whate’er their looks or ages,
That, though ’tis pleasant weaving Nets,
    ‘Tis wiser to make Cages.
Thus, maidens, thus do I beguile
    The task your fingers ply–
May all who hear, like Susan smile,
    Ah! not like Cloe sigh!

* * *


I do confess, in many a sigh,
My lips have breath’d you many a lie,
And who, with such delights in view,
Would lose them for a lie or two?
Nay–look not thus, with brow reproving:
Lies are, my dear, the soul of loving!
If half we tell the girls were true,
If half we swear to think and do,
Were aught but lying’s bright illusion,
The world would be in strange confusion!
If ladies’ eyes were, every one,
As lovers swear, a radiant sun,
Astronomy should leave the skies,
To learn her lore in ladies’ eyes!
Oh no!–believe me, lovely girl,
When nature turns your teeth to pearl,
Your neck to snow, your eyes to fire,
Your yellow locks to golden wire,
Then, only then, can heaven decree,
That you should live for only me,
Or I for you, as night and morn,
We’ve swearing kiss’d, and kissing sworn.

And now, my gentle hints to clear,
For once, I’ll tell you truth, my dear!
Whenever you may chance to meet
A loving youth, whose love is sweet,
Long as you’re false and he believes you,
Long as you trust and he deceives you,
So long the blissful bond endures;
And while he lies, his heart is yours;
But, oh! you’ve wholly lost the youth
The instant that he tells you truth!

* * *

On a Squinting Poetess

To no ONE Muse does she her glance confine,
But has an eye, at once to ALL THE NINE!

* * *

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