Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Time I've Lost in Wooing - Thomas Moore

The time I've lost in wooing,
In watching and pursuing
The light, that lies
In woman's eyes,
Has been my heart's undoing.
Though Wisdom oft has sought me,
I scorn'd the lore she brought me,
My only books
Were woman's looks,
And folly's all they've taught me.

Her smile when Beauty granted,
I hung with gaze enchanted,
Like him the Sprite,
Whom maids by night
Oft meet in glen that's haunted.
Like him, too, Beauty won me,
But while her eyes were on me,
If once their ray
Was turn'd away,
Oh! winds could not outrun me.

And are those follies going?
And is my proud heart growing
Too cold or wise
For brilliant eyes
Again to set it glowing?
No, vain, alas! th' endeavour
From bonds so sweet to sever;
Poor Wisdom's chance
Against a glance
Is now as weak as ever.

Thomas Moore, among the Romantic poets, was one of the most prolific and sometimes regarded as among the less talented.  Moore himself knew that he was not a genius, though he was talented, and as a result he was more in tune with the sensibilities of the reading public than many others.  He was exceedingly popular in his day and he remains widely-read today, and I think for good reason.  Even if he isn't Keats, his poetry is worthy of praise and reading.

It's hard not to be charmed by the hopeless romantic affliction from which the narrator of this poem suffers.  He knows full well that his chasing of romance "has been my heart's undoing" and that he has scorned wisdom.  He only learned folly, and yet, knowing that, he just can't help himself.  He wants that romantic feeling, craves it, much like the reader of this poem would seek it (hence buying these poems!).  The last stanza is my favorite part.  It's essentially, "I know that I've been a fool, but Wisdom doesn't stand a chance against a glance from a pretty lady."

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