The poet offers his beloved a necklace with sixteen white pearls, one for each of her years. Indeed, this age is the one Ashby-Sterry prefers in girls.
N I N A’ S N E C K L A C E.
I HAVE brought the string of pearls
For my prettiest of girls:
Let your merry laughter ring!
Do not reck
The wild ripple of your hair,
On your dimpled shoulders bare—
As I clasp the sheeny string
Round your neck!
Here are sixteen snowy pearls,
Glad to nestle in your curls,
Round your neck they closely cling
Fitting emblem of your years,
Free from sorrow, care and tears:
Sixteen summers softly sing,
Pure and bright!
Though your sweetest sunny smiles,
And your winsome girlish wiles,
Right and left you gaily fling—
From your lips I claim reward—
If you’ll graciously accord?—
I will clasp the snowy string
With a kiss!
Source of the poem: Joseph Ashby-Sterry, Boudoir Ballads, London: Chatto and Windus, Piccadilly (1876).
Previously published on Agapeta, 2018/05/24.