What is Love?

To Mrs. Robert Smyth

WHAT IS LOVE?

IT IS that delightsome transport we can feel

Which painters cannot paint, nor words reveal,

Nor any art we know of can conceal.

Canst thou describe the sunbeams to the blind,

Or make him feel a shadow with his mind?

So neither can we by description show

This first of all felicities below.

When happy Love pours magic o'er the soul,

And all our thoughts in sweet delirium roll;

When contemplation spreads her rainbow wings,

And every flutter some new rapture brings;

How sweetly then our moments glide away,

And dreams repeat the raptures of the day;

We live in ecstasy, to all things kind,

For love can teach a moral to the mind.

But are there not some other marks that prove,

What is this wonder of the soul, call'd love?

O yes there are, but of a different kind,

The dreadful horrors of a dismal mind:

Some jealous fury throws her poison'd dart,

And rends in pieces the distracted heart.

When love's a tyrant, and the soul a slave,

No hope remains to thought, but in the grave;

In that dark den it sees an end to grief,

And what was once its dread becomes relief.

What are the iron chains that hands have wrought?

The hardest chain to break is made of thought.

Think well of this, ye lovers, and be kind,

Nor play with torture on a tortured min