Archive for May 23rd, 2018

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

A Wife’s Absence Lamented by John Aikin

Anno conjugli* 13.

Whene’er in verse or flowery prose
The youthful lover vents his woes,
And the long labour’d column fills
With all his catalogue of ills,
Absence we find, above the rest,
In all his saddest rhet’ric drest;
And still he chides “the heavy hours”
That keep him from the charmer’s bowers;
Still tells his sorrow to the groves,
“When absent from the maid he loves.”
But, if the fancy-smitten swain
Can thus in doleful notes complain
Of what, perhaps, but gives him ease,
Lessening a tyrant’s power to tease,
How should the tender husband mourn
When from his faithful partner torn;
When absence from a much-lov’d wife
Of every pleasure robs his life!
Then, idle whining tribe! give way,
While I my real loss display;
And tell each comfort and each bliss
That long I’ve had, and now I miss

I want—the mistress of my board,
The guardian of my little hoard;
The ruler of my small domain;
Th’ instructress of my infant train;
My best adviser, surest guide,
Of faith approv’d, of wisdom tried;
The soother of each pain and grief;
From toil and care the sweet relief;
The friend, of sense and taste refin’d,
In all my fav’rite studies join’d;
The cheerful partner of my day,
With whom the hours roll swift away;
The lovely sharer of my night,
Sweet source of ever new delight,
Within whose fond encircling arms
I taste of more than virgin charms.
All these my Delia was to me,
And these, when she returns, will be.
What lover then has cause to sigh
For absence half so much as I?
Yet cease, my heart! complain no more,
But count the joys thou hast in store.

*Years married.

From: Aikin, John, Poems, 1791, J. Johnson: London, pp. 16-19.

Date: 1791

By: John Aikin (1747-1822)