Thomas Moore

May 28, 1780 - Feb 26, 1852


Odes To Nea: A Kiss A L'Antique

Behold, my love, the curious gem...

by Thomas Moore

Behold, my love, the curious gem
Within this simple ring of gold;
'Tis hallow'd by the touch of them
Who liv'd in classic hours of old.

Some fair Athenian girl, perhaps,
Upon her hand this gem display'd,
Nor thought that time's eternal lapse
Should see it grace a lovelier maid!

Look, darling, what a sweet design!
The more we gaze, it charms the more:
Come, -- closer bring that cheek to mine,
And trace with me its beauties o'er.

Thou see'st, it is a simple youth
By some enamour'd nymph embrac'd --
Look, Nea, love! and say, in sooth,
Is not her hand most dearly plac'd!

Upon his curled head behind
It seems in careless play to lie,
Yet presses gently, half inclin'd
To bring his lip of nectar nigh!

Oh happy maid! too happy boy!
The one so fond and faintly loath,
The other yielding slow to joy --
Oh, rare indeed, but blissful both!

Imagine, love, that I am he,
And just as warm as he is chilling;
Imagine, too, that thou art she,
But quite as cold as she is willing:

So may we try the graceful way
In which their gentle arms are twin'd,
And thus, like her, my hand I lay
Upon thy wreathed hair behind:

And thus I feel thee breathing sweet,
As slow to mine thy head I move;
And thus our lips together meet,
And -- thus I kiss thee -- oh, my love!

Notes to the poem:

Somewhat like the symplegma of Cupid and Psyche at Florence, in which the position of Psyche's hand is finely expressive of affection. See the Museum Florentinum, Tom. ii. Tab. 43, 44. I know of very few subjects in which poetry could be more interestingly employed, than in illustrating some of the ancient statues and gems.


The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore.
Copyright 1835
Philadelphia: J. Crissy, No. 4, Minor Street, and Desilver, Thomas, And Co., No. 247, Market Street