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To a Vain Lady

Lord Byron
January 15, 1807 --- First published 1832

( NOTE:  This poem supposedly refers to Anne Houson --- one of the many lady friends of Byron in Southwell )


Ah, heedless girl !    why thus disclose

What ne'er was meant for other ears?

Why thus destroy thine own repose,

And dig the source of future tears?

Oh, thou wilt weep, imprudent maid,

While lurking envious foes will smile,

For all the follies thou hast said

Of those who spoke but to beguile.

Vain girl !    thy ling'ring woes are nigh,

If thou believ'st what striplings say:

Oh, from the deep temptation fly,

Nor fall the specious spoiler's prey.

Dost thou repeat, in childish boast,

The words man utters to deceive?

Thy peace, thy hope, thy all is lost,

If those canst venture to believe.

While now amongst thyu female peers

Thou tell'st again the soothing tale,

Canst thou not mark the rising sneers

Duplicity in vain would veil?

These tales in secret silence hush,

Nor make thyself the public gaze:

What modest maid without a blush

Recounts a flattering coxcomb's praise?

Will not the laughing boy despise

Her who relates each fond conceit ---

Who, thinking Heaven is in her eyes,

Yet cannot see the slight deceit?

For she who takes a soft delight

These amorous nothings in revealing,

Must credit all we say or write,

While vanity prevents concealing.

Cease, if you prize your Beauty's reign !

No jealousy bids me reprove:

One, who is thus from nature vain,

I pity, but I cannot love.


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