by: Washington Allston (1779-1843)

      h me! how hard the task to bear
      The weight of ills we know!
      But harder still to dry the tear,
      That mourns a nameless wo.

      If by the side of Lucy's Wheel
      I sit to see her spin,
      My head around begins to reel,
      My heart to beat within.

      Or when on harvest holyday
      I lead the dance along,
      If Lucy chance to cross my way,
      So sure she leads me wrong.

      If I attempt to pipe to play,
      And catch my Lucy's eye,
      The trembling music dies away,
      And melts into a sigh.

      Where'er I go, where'er I turn,
      If Lucy there be found,
      I seem to shiver, yet I burn,
      My head goes swimming round.

      I cannot bear to see her smile,
      Unless she smile on me;
      And if she frown, I sigh the while,
      But know not whence it be.

      Ah, what have I to Lucy done
      To cause me so much stir?
      From rising to the setting sun
      I sigh, and think of her.

      In vain I strive to join the throng
      In social mirth and ease;
      Now lonely woods I stray among;
      For only woods can please.

      Ah, me! this restless heart I fear
      Will never be at rest,
      'Till Lucy cease to live, or tear
      Her image from my breast.
"First Love" is reprinted from The Sylphs of the Season with Other Poems. Washington Allston. Boston: Cummings and Hillard, 1813.




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