The Perversion of Letters by Aubrey de Vere

Time was when books, sent forth without pretence,
Elaborately wrought with studious zeal,
Were true exponents of the heart. To feel
Strongly came first; then speech, pure from offence,
Yet vigilantly fearless. Handmaid to Sense,
Wit wrought for Reason; Satire probed to heal;
And Raillery, chafed spirits to anneal:
Thus, genuine instincts to fulfil, and thence
Good ends secure, the purpose was of all.
Men fight for triumph now; transforming words
To stings; and poisoning Wisdom’s fount with gall.
Books have cloaked meanings: a light tale affords
A mask for sour Polemicks; and the curse
Of Passion desecrates immortal verse!

From: de Vere, Aubrey, Sonnets: A New Edition,1875, Basil Montagu Pickering: London, p. 6.

Date: 1842

By: Aubrey de Vere (1788-1846)

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