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Impromptu: To Frances Garnet Wolseley poem – Alfred Austin


Little maiden just beginning

To be comely, arch, and winning,

In whose form I catch the traces

Of your mother’s gifts and graces,

And around whose head the glory

Of your father’s growing story,

O’er whose cradle, fortune-guided,

Mars and Venus both presided,

May your fuller years inherit

Female charm and manly merit,

So that all may know who girt you

With vivacity and virtue,

Whence you had the luck to borrow

Pensive mien without its sorrow,

Dignity devoid of coldness,

Sprightliness without its boldness,

Raillery untipped by malice,

Playful wit and kindly sallies,

Eloquence averse from railing,

Each good point without its failing.

And when, little bud, you flower

Into maidenhood and power,

Fate no fainter heart allot you

Than the brave one that begot you,

So that you a race continue

Worthy of the blood within you,

Handing down the gifts you bring them,

With a better bard to sing them.


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