Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
By William Moore Smith (1759–1821)
SO very deaf, so blind a creature,
As Delia, ne’er was seen in nature.
Blind to each failing of a friend,
But ever ready to commend;
Yet not to failings blind alone,        5
Blind to each beauty of her own.
  So very deaf, that if around
A thousand shrill-toned tongues should sound,
With scandal tipt, good names to tear,
A single word she would not hear;        10
Or, if, by chance, amidst a crowd,
Some antiquated maid, so loud,
Against a youthful fair should rail,
That deafness’ self must hear the tale:
Her comprehension is so slow,        15
A single word she would not know;
Or did she know, so weak her brain,
That scandal’s tale it can’t contain.
Yet these are trifles, when compared
To things that all the town has heard,        20
For though so stupid, deaf and blind,
The greatest charge is left behind;
The faults of nature, I ’d forgive,
But she ’s the greatest thief alive.
In earliest youth, the cunning chit        25
Had pilfer’d Hermes of his wit!
Within a deep embowering wood,
A hoary hermit’s cottage stood;
There as Minerva once retired,
To seek the sage herself inspired,        30
While all around was wrapt in night,
Save the pale student’s glimmering light,
She came with worse than burglar’s tread,
And filch’d the helmet from her head!
She robb’d the Graces of their charms,        35
And off she ran with Cupid’s arms.
She stole the queen of beauty’s zone,
And made Diana’s smiles her own;
Nor does she ever spend a day
But what she steals some heart away;        40
E’en while I write this hasty line,
I feel, I feel she ’s stealing mine.
Yes—stupid, deaf and blind’s the creature,
And yet the greatest thief in nature.

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