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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

To the Daughter of an Old Sweetheart

By George Denison Prentice (1802–1870)

[From Poems. Edited by John James Piatt. 1876.]

I LOVE thee, Juliet, for thy mother’s sake,

And were I young should love thee for thine own.

Afresh in thee her early charms awake,

And all her witcheries are round thee thrown;

Thine are her girlhood’s features, and I know

Her many virtues in thy bosom glow.

Thou art as lovely, though not yet as famed,

As that bright maid, the beautiful, the true,

The gentle being for whom thou wast named,

The Juliet that our glorious Shakespeare drew.

Thine is her magic loveliness—but, oh,

What fiery youth shall be thy Romeo?

Whoe’er he be, oh, may his lot and thine

Be happier than the lot of those of old;

May ye, like them, bow low at passion’s shrine,

May love within your bosoms ne’er grow cold;

And may your paths be ne’er, like theirs, beset

By strifes of Montague and Capulet.

Like his great prototype, thy Romeo,

Half frenzied by his passion’s raging flame,

And kindling with a poet’s fervid glow,

May fancy he might cut thy beauteous frame

Into bright stars to deck the midnight sky—

But, gentle Juliet, may he never try!

I paid the tribute of an humble lay

To thy fair mother in her girlhood bright,

And now this humbler offering I pay

To thee, oh, sweet young spirit of delight.

And may I not, tossed on life’s stormy waters,

Live to make rhymes, dear Juliet, to thy daughters?