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Poem by Janet Little

The Rival Swans

WHILE o'er the plains stern winter bore the sway,
And Sol from Capricorn diffus'd his ray,
Nigh Bolton Gate, beneath a hawthorn shade,
Two rural swains sad lamentations made:
Each for an absent damsel seem'd to mourn,
While throbbing breasts did sigh for sigh return.
Young D----y's notes and T--'s fond praises prov'd,
That D---- h T----r was the maid belov'd.
Says D--k, 'O had I these sweet hours again,
I've spent with her; but ah! I wish in vain.
The nymph is fled; to Manchester she's gone,
Nor heeds my sighs, nor yet regards my moan:
Her cruel aunts did contribute their aid,
To banish from my sight the lovely maid.
O little Cupid, choose two fatal darts,
And with a vengeance, send them to their hearts;
May they endure the agonizing pain
Of love, yet ever unbelov'd remain;
And, when far hence, by death they're doom'd to go,
Then let their task be leading apes below.
Young D----h was the fairest on the plain,
Admir'd and lov'd by ev'ry wond'ring swain.
Her charms exterior might a hero bind;
But ah! the beauty that adorns her mind,
To paint does far exceed my Muse's skill.
To you, dear T-- I'll now resign the quill.'
Says T--, 'On her the Graces seem to wait;
Her form, how fair! enchanting is her gait.
Her youthful charms, no tongue could e'er express;
Nor does her absence render them the less.
The soft impression with me still remains;
I'm captive, yet I glory in my chains.
With fond delight I retrospect the day,
When we to E----n took our way,
With hearts elate, to view the Scottish fair,
Lov'd D----h sweeten'd all the pleasures there.
Blest with her company upon the road,
How charming seem'd each rugged path we trode?
Nor could the Scottish fair such charms display;
My darling reign'd the empress of the day.
But ah! reflection animates my pain,
Such happy days I'll ne'er behold again.
Alas! I languish now in deep despair;
O that I could forget my absent fair!'
While these two youths rehearsed their plaintive tale,
A third came stalking o'er a distant dale:
R----n his name, whose anxious looks did show,
His beating bosom much oppress'd with wo.
Of J----y's charms, he in soft concert sung;
J----y the gay, the beauteous, and the young;
She who of late, with parson F----r stay'd,
In the low station of a dairy-maid.
Yet there it was she gain'd young R----n's heart,
And in her absence nought can ease his smart.
O hapless lads! can nought allay your pain,
Till these two charming maids return again?
Is there none else can ease your tortur'd mind?
None else so fair, so virtuous and so kind?
So may you think, and thus in sighs lament,
Till Hymen's fetters make you all repent.
Better bewail an absent love for life,
Than be tormented by a fractious wife. 

Janet Little

Janet Little's other poems:
  1. Celia and her Looking Glass
  2. Lothario
  3. An Extemporary Acrostic
  4. A Poem on Contentment
  5. Written January First, 1792

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