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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Epistle from Lord Boringdon to Lord Granville

George Canning (1770–1827)

OFT you have ask’d me, Granville, why

Of late I heave the frequent sigh?

Why, moping, melancholy, low,

From supper, commons, wine, I go?

Why bows my mind, by care oppress’d;

By day no peace, by night no rest?

Hear, then, my friend, and ne’er you knew

A tale so tender, and so true—

Hear what, tho’ shame my tongue restrain

My pen with freedom shall explain.

Say, Granville, do you not remember,

About the middle of November,

When Blenheim’s hospitable lord

Received us at his cheerful board;

How fair the Ladies Spencer smiled,

Enchanting, witty, courteous, mild?

And mark’d you not, how many a glance

Across the table, shot by chance

From fair Eliza’s graceful form,

Assail’d and took my heart by storm?

And mark’d you not, with earnest zeal,

I ask’d her, if she’d have some veal?

And how, when conversation’s charms

Fresh vigour gave to love’s alarms,

My heart was scorch’d, and burnt to tinder,

When talking to her at the winder?

These facts premised, you can’t but guess

The cause of my uneasiness,

For you have heard, as well as I,

That she’ll be married speedily;

And then—my grief more plain to tell—

Soft cares, sweet tears, fond hopes,—farewell!

But still, tho’ false the fleeting dream,

Indulge awhile the tender theme,

And hear, had fortune yet been kind,

How bright the prospect of the mind.

O! had I had it in my power

To wed her—with a suited dower—

And proudly bear the beauteous maid

To Saltrum’s venerable shade,—

Or if she liked not woods at Saltrum,

Why, nothing easier then to alter ’em,—

Then had I tasted bliss sincere,

And happy been from year to year.

How changed this scene! for now, my Granville,

Another match is on the anvil,

And I, a widow’d dove, complain,

And feel no refuge from my pain—

Save that of pitying Spencer’s sister,

Who’s lost a lord, and gained a Mister.