Written At The Request Of A Gentleman To Whom A Lady Had Given A Sprig Of MyrtlePoem by Samuel Johnson
What hopes - what terrors does this gift create?
Ambiguous emblem of uncertain fate.
The myrtle (ensign of supreme command
Consign'd to Venus by Melissa's hand),
Not less capricious than a reigning fair,
Oft favours, oft rejects a lover's prayer.
In myrtle shades despairing ghosts complain:
The myrtle crowns the happy lover's heads,
The unhappy lovers' graves the myrtle spreads.
Oh! then the meaning of thy gift impart,
And ease the throbbings of an anxious heart:
Soon must this sprig, as you shall fix its doom,
Adorn Philander's head, or grace his tomb.