Archive for November 30th, 2015

Monday, 30 November 2015

The Innocent Inconstant* by Martha Fowke Sansom

Well! an Inconstant, let me then be thought:
Nor can I help it, if it be a Fault,
No solid Lead is in my Atoms mix’d,
All Mercury! too sprightly to be fix’d!
As soon the Stars might in one Station shine,
As one dull Wretch retain this Heart of mine.
Restless, and tired, my Wishes still remove,
Nor can I clip the Wings of Flying Love.
Languid and faint, he in one Posture seems,
Loses his Fire, and in dull Slumber dreams;
Till some bright Victor, with enchanting Eyes,
Strikes his damp Wings, and bids his Spirits rise.

Let but the Bays and Myrtle crown my Brow,
I envy not the Frost, that Prudes avow.
No matter! – if my little Sallies look
But fairly in the Great Accounting Book!
My smiling Soul, from dang’rous Sin secure,
Scorns loose Desires, and is with Pleasure pure.

‘Tis Love’s chast Bliss, its bright, transparent Part,
That my Flame kindles at, that warms my Heart!
I search – but rarely meet an equal Taste,
Then I grow weary, and I change in haste:
Where I discern that heavy Earth prevails,
I leave the Lumber, and I shift the Sails.

But Oh, inconstant as I may appear,
Cou’d I once find a Poet, and sincere;
Wisdom, with Wit, might sure for ever move,
And He might clip the Wings of Flying Love.

*Martha Fowke Sansom wrote this poem in response to Verses to a Young Lady [Unconstant] by Richard Savage which he sent to her in 1722.

From: Fairer, David and Gerrard, Christine (eds.), Eighteenth-Century Poetry. An Annotated Anthology. Third Edition, 2015, Wiley Blackwell: Oxford, pp. 236-237.

Date: 1726

By: Martha Fowke Sansom (1689-1736)