Amelia Opie

12 November 1769 – 2 December 1853 / Norwich

The Origin Of The Sail

"Sweet maid! on whom my wishes rest,
My morning thought, my midnight dream,
O grant Lysander's fond request,
And let those eyes with mercy beam!

"Thy coy delays at length give o'er,
And let me claim thy nuptial vow!
Bid that cold bosom, cold no more,
With mutual passion's ardour glow.

"To yonder isle amidst the sea,
Which sportive laves those mountains' feet,
Beloved Euphrasia, haste with me,
And there the priest of Hymen meet.

"There, spicy groves thick foliage spread
The timid virgin's blush to hide;
There, gales which tender languors shed
Diffuse the richest perfumes wide.

"O! blest retreat for happy love!
And see the sun's descending beams
Now richly gild each distant grove,
And shed around soft roseate gleams.

"Then let this bark for thee designed,
For thee by anxious fondness drest,
Yon beauteous island strive to find,
And bear us o'er the ocean's breast."

Here paused the youth, and round her waist
His arm with timid boldness threw;
While from his grasp, with blushing haste,
The pleased yet frowning fair withdrew.

"And wilt thou scorn my suit?" he said,
While in despair his hands he wrung....
"Behold!" replied the yielding maid,
And to the bark she, sighing, sprung.

There, fondly seated by her side,
The youth her fluttered spirits cheered,
And o'er the eve-empurpled tide
To find the priest of Hymen steered.

But too, too slow for lovers' haste
The sluggish bark appeared to move;
Still lengthening seemed the watry waste,
To thy fond glances, eager love!

At length with fruitless wishes tired,
The fretful youth to Cupid prayed;
Who, pitying power! a thought inspired
The ardent suppliant's will to aid.

To hide her face from Love's keen gaze,
O'er which Consent's soft languor spread,
Within her veil's luxuriant maze
Euphrasia wrapt her beauteous head.

But now that veil the youth unbinds,
Then to the bark with ardour ties....
See! its folds catch the passing winds,
And lo, to land the vessel flies!

But not alone, youth loved of heaven!
Thy glowing bosom blessed that hour;
The thought, to crown thy wishes given,
Still charms with never-ending power:

And grateful ages yet unborn
Shall bless Euphrasia's floating veil;
Thence dawned on Art a brighter morn,
For thence she framed the swelling sail.
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