Verse > Anthologies > Fuess and Stearns, eds. > The Little Book of Society Verse
Fuess and Stearns, comps.  The Little Book of Society Verse.  1922.
By William Cowper
Addressed to Miss Stapleton

SHE came—she is gone—we have met—
  And meet perhaps never again;
The sun of that moment is set,
  And seems to have risen in vain.
Catharina has fled like a dream,        5
  (So vanishes pleasure, alas!)
But has left a regret and esteem
  That will not so suddenly pass.
That last evening ramble we made,
  Catharina, Maria, and I,        10
Our progress as often delay’d
  By the nightingale warbling nigh.
We paused under many a tree,
  And much was she charm’d with a tone,
Less sweet to Maria and me,        15
  Who so lately had witness’d her own.
My numbers that day she had sung,
  And gave them a grace so divine,
As only her musical tongue
  Could infuse into numbers of mine.        20
The longer I heard, I esteem’d
  The work of my fancy the more,
And e’en to myself never seem’d
  So tuneful a poet before.
Though the pleasures of London exceed        25
  In number the days of the year,
Catharina, did nothing impede,
  Would feel herself happier here;
For the close-woven arches of limes
  On the banks of our river, I know,        30
Are sweeter to her many times
  Than aught that the city can show.
So it is, when the mind is endued
  With a well-judging taste from above,
Then, whether embellish’d or rude,        35
  ’T is nature alone that we love.
The achievements of art may amuse,
  May even our wonder excite,
But groves, hills, and valleys diffuse
  A lasting, a sacred delight.        40
Since then in the rural recess
  Catharina alone can rejoice,
May it still be her lot to possess
  The scene of her sensible choice!
To inhabit a mansion remote        45
  From the clatter of street-pacing steeds,
And by Philomel’s annual note
  To measure the life that she leads.
With her book, and her voice, and her lyre,
  To wing all her moments at home;        50
And with scenes that new rapture inspire
  As oft as it suits her to roam;
She will have just the life she prefers,
  With little to hope or to fear,
And ours would be pleasant as hers,        55
  Might we view it enjoying it here.

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