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Poem by George Crabbe


Despair


      [November, 1772.]

               Heu mihi!
     Quod nullis amor medicabilis herbis.    OVID.

       Tyrsis _and_ Damon.

  D. Begin, my Tyrsis; songs shall sooth our cares,
       Allay our sorrows, and dispel our fears;
       Shall glad thy heart, and bring its native peace,
       And bid thy grief its weighty influence cease.
       No more those tears of woe, dear shepherd, shed,
       Nor ever mourn the lov'd Cordelia dead.

  T. In vain, my Damon, urge thy fond request
       To still the troubles of an anxious breast:
       Cordelia's gone! and now what pain is life
       Without my fair, my friend, my lovely wife? 
       Hope! cheerful hope! to distant climes is fled,
       And Nature mourns the fair Cordelia dead.

  D. But can thy tears re-animate the earth,
       Or give to sordid dust a second birth?
       Mistaken mortal! learn to bear the ill,
       Nor let that canker, grief, thy pleasures kill.
       No more in Sorrow's sable garb array'd,
       Still [mourn] thy lov'd, thy lost Cordelia dead.

  T. Can I forget the fairest of her kind,
       Beauteous in person, fairer still in mind?
       Can I forget she sooth'd my heart to rest,
       And still'd the troubl'd motion in my breast?
       Can I, by soothing song or friendship led,
       Forget to mourn my lov'd Cordelia dead?

  D. Another fair may court thee to her arms,
       Display her graces, and reveal her charms;
       May catch thy wand'ring eye, dispel thy woe,
       And give to sorrow final overthrow.
       No longer, then, thy heart-felt anguish shed,
       Nor mourn, in solitude, Cordelia dead.

  T. Sooner shall lions fierce forget to roam,
       And peaceful walk with gentle lambs at home;
       Sooner shall Discord love her ancient hate,
       And Peace and Love with Rage incorporate;
       Sooner shall turtles with the sparrow wed,
       Than I forget my lov'd Cordelia dead.

  D. Must then Dorintha ever sigh in vain,
       And Cælia breathe to echoing groves her pain?
       Must Chloe hope in vain to steel that heart
       In which each nymph would gladly share a part? 
       Must these, dejected shepherd, be betray'd.
       And victims fall, because Cordelia's dead?

  T. By those who love, my friend, it stands confest,
       No second flame can fill a lover's breast:
       For me no more the idle scenes of life
       Shall vex with envy, hatred, noise, or strife;
       But here, in melancholy form array'd,
       I'll ever mourn my lov'd Cordelia dead.

          G. EBBARE.



George Crabbe


George Crabbe's other poems:
  1. Lines Written at Warwick
  2. To a Lady, on Leaving Her at Sidmouth
  3. Concluding Lines of Prize Poem on Hope
  4. On the Death of William Springall Levett
  5. Cupid


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Samuel Coleridge Despair ("I have experienc'd")
  • Madison Cawein Despair ("Shut in with phantoms of life's hollow hopes")
  • Mary Hobson Despair ("I hate this page")

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