On the Occasion of Meeting a Young Lady at the Last Public Ball [poem, 2 May 1829]

[Editor: A poem published in Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 2 May 1829.]

On the Occasion of Meeting a Young Lady at the Last Public Ball.

Alone in her beauty, and bright as the morning,
Which dawns every day on our tropical coast,
She mov’d; — every grace, every charm was adorning
A heart pure as any which virtue can boast.

Though many in fashion and beauty were shining,
(The fairest had met of Australian fair)
Like a rose midst a garland of flowers entwining,
I thought her the sweetest and loveliest there.

In the day-time, at night, o’er my senses oft stealing,
Her form will return, my dark visions to cheer;
Though hopeless my passion, I’ll cherish the feeling,
And nothing shall smother one thought of despair.

And if for another that heart I find beating,
(All who gaze must admire; wealth and birth must prevail;)
I’ll soon quit this spot, from my own thoughts retreating,
Nor care where my bark may be blown by the gale.

But I fear one sad thought would still haunt me for ever,
Where’er I might roam, would be present again;
The thought that another enjoy’d such a treasure
Would fill me with envy, would madden my brain.

Oh, no! ere that happen, may merciful Heav’n,
In kindness give ear to the wanderer’s pray’r;
May I die, and may leave to my spirit be giv’n
To hover round all I think lovely and fair.

If, ——, to have seen thee, and seeing, admir’d;
If admiring, to love, be presumptuous in me;
Death then will atone for the passion inspir’d,
And my last pray’r and sigh shall be breath’d but for thee.

FIDELIS.

**********

April 27th, 1829.



Source:
Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW), 2 May 1829, p. 4

Editor’s notes:
1) In this poem the name of the poet’s love is not mentioned; the name is given as “——” (i.e. the name is blanked out).

2) The publication of this poem was foreshadowed in the previous issue, where the Editor made the following comments in the “To Correspondents” section:

The late Ball at Government House, which exhibited so splendid an assemblage of female beauty, appears to have been infested by that wicked urchin, Cupid, one of whose stricken victims, bleeding, sighing, dying, has approached our Editorial throne, petitioning for our aid in making his appeal to the “cruel nymph.” Fidelis! “Poor Fidelis’ grassy tomb!” But he shall appear in our next, and if the blooming fair one refuse him a sigh or a smile, we shall find some means of punishing her heartless obduracy.

[see: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW), 30 April 1829, p. 2]

bark = (also spelt “barque”) a small sailing ship in general, or specifically a sailing ship with three (or more) masts, in which the aftmost mast is fore-and-aft rigged, whilst the other masts are square-rigged

ere = before (from the Middle English “er”, itself from the Old English “aer”, meaning early or soon)

o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)

oft = often

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