Ye beauteous lips! ye fair but wily twins!
Partners in pleasures--co-expert in sins;
Portals to folly, virtue, wisdom, wit;
Where lurking smiles in silent ambush sit;
Where Love's enshrined, and Beauty worships it;
Where Flatt'ry keeps and utters her base coin;
And craft and cruelty in concert join;
Where melody is born and music reigns,
To charm the ear with their enchanting strains.
Whence rolls the thunder when the brave command;
When silent--eloquent! when vocal--grand!
Where passion pleads and modesty is dumb;
Where what has exit back can never come.
Ye seat of pride, and treachery, and scorn!
Most fertile source of ill since man was born;
Fomenters of rebellion, war, and hate;
The throne of judgment, and the seal of fate!
Whose flexile bow the verbal arrow speeds,
Nor pity show when low the victim bleeds.
Ye dewy buds! ambrosial, honey'd, fair!
Of coupled gifts the most deceitful pair;
Whose vermil rose exhales the softest sighs,
While 'neath its bloom the venomed adder lies;
Whose slightest breath can heav'nly bliss bestow,
Or evil plant of everlasting woe.
O'er the bruised heart the healing balsam pour,
Or prove its wounds, but to extend their sore.
With accents warm from Truth's life-giving spring,
The flagging soul to its pure waters bring;
With kindling flame the fainting hope inspire,
Till all the mind with holy rapture fire;
Whose changing hues the rising storm presage,
Now blanched with fear, and purple now with rage,
As, mute and rigid, sinister and bland,
Two trembling walls apart, ye bloodless, stand!
Whose bars, when closed by honours sacred seal,
Torture has failed their secret to reveal.
Whose word is oft more precious far than gold--
Than crowns and jewels--ay! a thousand-fold.
Beyond all human efforts to control,
Fountain of thought, and organ of the soul:
Expression's coral forge, where Language shapes
His chain of words, each links as each escapes;
Or whether in impassioned strains of love,
Or accents of despair, or woe, ye move,
Still are ye beautiful! most beautiful!
Ye subtle twain! and he, indeed, is dull,
Who shuts your crimson doors in silent pride,
His godlike store of mental gifts to hide.