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Anna Jane Vardill

The Prodigal to His Wife

Did I say that the violet lingered the last
In the dark hollow bosom of sunshine bereft?
O no!—still unsear’d and unshrunk by the blast,
One smooth olive-leaf in its covert is left.

Sweet Rhoda!—the violet balmy and brief,
Awhile like the mem’ry of pleasure may bloom;
But faith such as thine is the ever-green leaf
That shelters the ruin and clings to the tomb.

Believ’d they, my love, it would wound thee to know
One cherish’d illusion remains of my youth?
No—sweetly the morning mists melt, and bestow
Their dews on the roots of Affection and Truth.

Did magic Olivia my senses controul,
And soft as an eyelid o’ershadow my sight?
Still thou wast the eye and the guide of my soul,
In sorrow its aid, and in joy its delight.

’Tis true, like the truant-babe once I return’d,
When Pleasure’s full bosom invited me back;
But thou, tho’ the sweet milk of kindness I spurn’d,
Still met me with smiles in my desolate track.

Nor ever in spleen will my Rhodalind mock
The fond recollections than linger unbid;
Nor grieve that her image is fixed on a rock
Where yet the warm ruby’s rich relics are hid.

For there is a light in her eye and her heart
More true than the glare of the pestilent mine:
Of joy in the world I disdain not a part;
But Rhoda!—the whole when I seek it is thine.


The European Magazine, Vol. 76, November 1819, p. 456