To Emma, Doubting the Author’s Sincerity by Cuthbert Shaw

When misers cease to doat on gold,
When justice is no longer sold,
When female tongues their clack shall hush,
When modesty shall cease to blush,
When parents shall no more control
The fond affections of the soul,
Nor force the sad reluctant fair
Her idol from her heart to tear;
For sordid interest to engage,
And languish in the arms of age;
Then in this heart shall falsehood reign,
And pay thy kindness with disdain.
When friends severe as thine shall prove
Propitious to ingenuous love,
Bid thee in merit place affiance,
And think they’re honour’d by the’ alliance:
And oh! when hearts as proud as mine
Shall basely kneel at Plutus’ shrine,
Forego my modest plea to fame,
Or own dull power’s superior claim;
When the bright sun no more shall bring
The sweet return of annual spring;
When Nature shall the change deplore,
And music till the groves no more;
Then in this heart shall falsehood reign,
And pay thy kindness with disdain.
But why from dearer objects rove,
Nor draw illusions whence I love?
When my dear Emma’s eyes shall be
As black as jet or ebony,
And every froward tooth shall stand
As rang’d by Hemet’s* dextrous hand;
When her sweet face, deform’d by rage,
No more shall every heart engage,
When her soft voice shall cease to charm,
Nor malice of its power disarm;
When manners, gentle and refin’d,
No more speak forth her spotless mind;
But the perfidious minx shall prove
A perjur’d traitress to her love:
Then—nor till then—shall Damon be
False to his vows, and false to thee!

*Hemet – a celebrated dentist.

From: Shaw, Cuthbert and Park, Thomas (ed.), The Poetical Works of Cuthbert Shaw. Collated with the best editions, 1807, Stanhope Press: London, pp. 8-9.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=EVAJAAAAQAAJ)

Date: c1765

By: Cuthbert Shaw (1738/9-1771)

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