When Lovely Woman Stoops to Folly

By Oliver Goldsmith 1730–1774 Oliver Goldsmith
When lovely woman stoops to folly,
   And finds too late that men betray,
What charm can sooth her melancholy,
   What art can wash her guilt away?

The only art her guilt to cover,
   To hide her shame from every eye,
To give repentance to her lover,
   And wring his bosom—is to die.

Source: Norton Anthology of Poetry (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 2005)

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Poet Oliver Goldsmith 1730–1774

POET’S REGION Ireland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

Subjects Gender & Sexuality, Relationships, Social Commentaries, Men & Women

 Oliver  Goldsmith

Biography

An essayist, novelist, poet, and playwright, Goldsmith was born in Kilkenny West, County Westmeath, Ireland. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, and studied medicine in Edinburgh but never received a medical degree. He traveled to Europe in 1756 and eventually settled in London. He worked as a writer and was friends with the artistic and literary luminaries of the time, including Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, Sir Joshua . . .

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Poems by Oliver Goldsmith

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Gender & Sexuality, Relationships, Social Commentaries, Men & Women

POET’S REGION Ireland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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