Lady Jane Ellenborough, Joseph Karl Stieler, 1831, Wikipedia photo.
Lady Jane Ellenborough, Joseph Karl Stieler, 1831, Wikipedia photo.

As eyesight and health have waned from
Debilitating age, in haunting moments, I
Remember you, Lady Jane, vernal beauty,
Invoking lust beyond distraction, all I
Lived for and believed willingly forsaken
For blissful moments, suffering at the
Tempting hands of an admiral’s daughter.

Sins of English copulating cousins, your
Gown descending to bare feet, breasts
Buoyant, enticing golden fleece, we fell to
Maddened mirth, not once, an isolated
Indiscretion, but in repeated deceit, we
United again, atrocity to our family, you
Bore our curséd son, dying in infancy.

Insulted to my marrow, there were others
Before and after me, scandalous seduction,
Germany and Greece, a general’s wife, then
Marriage to an Ægean king, never satisfied
Until inflicting misery, children dying, your
Resilience and perversion unwavering, men
Enslaved by tempestuous flesh.

Lady Jane, light in your blue eyes drives
Men’s hearts and heads asunder, fleeting
Glimpses, sweet agonies or lacerating grief,
Inviting arms and legs, kisses warm and
Snake-venomous, wanton assignations
Without fearing consequences, another
Child dying by accident or dreaded disease.

Your soul forsaken by disgrace, death came
By dysentery and fever, yet your portrait lives
In merciless splendor, my heart possessed by
Canvas-painted eyes, artist’s uncanny likeness
My undoing, grievous tragedies, our son’s
Grassy grave, I endured self-punishment, my
Youthful wrongdoing, life-long regretted.

For more information about Lady Jane (Digby) Ellenborough, see this link:

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