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Henry O'Meara Ballads of America



FORMED by that Master's subtile flame and power,
   Creature most pure by crucial wrong refined,
Cordelia claims alone the precious dower -
The twin-born graces of a dual flower,
   Conjugal faith and filial ties entwined.
Ophelia pensive, Portia wise and fair,
   Juliet forlorn, Beatrice unbelieving,
Helena tried, Hermione true and rare -
Jewels you all creative genius share,
  But gemmed Cordelia is his soul's conceiving.
Though fond and fierce by turn be fickle Lear,
  She still untired in love, by fear unstirred,
Teaches to prize the simple and sincere -
To pierce the guise of Vanity's veneer,
   To scorn pretence and hate the hollow word.
Goneril vows and Regan bends to gain,
   Yet calm Cordelia clings to truth unswerving,
As innate trust and worth her heart sustain -
Self-poised above these sisters' sordid plane,
   Content and tranquil simply in deserving.
Peerless Cordelia, whose sweet Nature glows,
   A petalled-pearl of rose-embosomed dew,
That fresh fulfilment, not dry promise, shows -
As liquid benison e'er limpid flows,
   A guile-parched world's athirst for such as you!




Edited and formatted by Sheldon Brown
updated Wednesday, April 19, 2000
Copyright © 2000, 2007 Sheldon Brown