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Short poem

Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743-1825)

To Mr. Barbauld, November 14, 1778

              1     Come, clear thy studious looks awhile,
              2       'T is arrant treason now
              3       To wear that moping brow,
              4     When I, thy empress, bid thee smile.

              5       What though the fading year
              6       One wreath will not afford
              7       To grace the poet's hair,
              8       Or deck the festal board;

              9     A thousand pretty ways we'll find
            10     To mock old Winter's starving reign;
            11     We'll bid the violets spring again,
            12     Bid rich poetic roses blow,
            13     Peeping above his heaps of snow;
            14     We'll dress his withered cheeks in flowers,
            15       And on his smooth bald head
            16       Fantastic garlands bind:
            17       Garlands, which we will get
            18   From the gay blooms of that immortal year,
            19       Above the turning seasons set,
            20Where young ideas shoot in Fancy's sunny bowers.

            21     A thousand pleasant arts we'll have
            22   To add new feathers to the wings of Time,
            23     And make him smoothly haste away:
            24       We'll use him as our slave,
            25     And when we please we'll bid him stay,
            26   And clip his wings, and make him stop to view
            27     Our studies, and our follies too;
            28How sweet our follies are, how high our fancies climb.

            29     We'll little care what others do,
            30     And where they go, and what they say;
            31     Our bliss, all inward and our own,
            32   Would only tarnished be, by being shown.
            33       The talking restless world shall see,
            34       Spite of the world we'll happy be;
            35             But none shall know
            36             How much we're so,
            37           Save only Love, and we.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Works of Anna Lætitia Barbauld, Volume I (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster-Row, 1825), pp. 134-36. PR 4057 B7 1825 v.1 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1825
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/18

Composition date: November 1778
Form note: irregular rhyming stanzas

Other poems by Anna Lætitia Barbauld