Matthew Prior.


432   The Question to Lisetta

WHAT nymph should I admire or trust,
But Chloe beauteous, Chloe just?
What nymph should I desire to see,
But her who leaves the plain for me?
To whom should I compose the lay,
But her who listens when I play?
To whom in song repeat my cares,
But her who in my sorrow shares?
For whom should I the garland make,
But her who joys the gift to take,
And boasts she wears it for my sake?
In love am I not fully blest?
Lisetta, prithee tell the rest.


Sure Chloe just, and Chloe fair,
Deserves to be your only care;
But, when you and she to- day
Far into the wood did stray,
And I happen’d to pass by,
Which way did you cast your eye?
But, when your cares to her you sing,
You dare not tell her whence they spring;
Does it not more afflict your heart,
That in those cares she bears a part?
When you the flowers for Chloe twine,
Why do you to her garland join
The meanest bud that falls from mine?
Simplest of swains! the world may see
Whom Chloe loves, and who loves me.

433   To a Child of Quality

Five Years Old, 1704. The Author then Forty

LORDS, knights, and squires, the numerous band
   That wear the fair Miss Mary’s fetters,
Were summoned by her high command
   To show their passions by their letters.

My pen amongst the rest I took,
   Lest those bright eyes, that cannot read,
Should dart their kindling fire, and look
   The power they have to be obey’d.

Nor quality, nor reputation,
   Forbid me yet my flame to tell;
Dear Five-years-old befriends my passion,
   And I may write till she can spell.

For, while she makes her silkworms beds
   With all the tender things I swear;
Whilst all the house my passion reads,
   In papers round her baby’s hair;

She may receive and own my flame,
   For, though the strictest prudes should know it,
She’ll pass for a most virtuous dame,
   And I for an unhappy poet.

Then too, alas! when she shall tear
   The rhymes some younger rival sends,
She’ll give me leave to write, I fear,
   And we shall still continue friends.

For, as our different ages move,
   ’Tis so ordain’d (would Fate but mend it!),
That I shall be past making love
   When she begins to comprehend it.

434   Song

THE merchant, to secure his treasure,
   Conveys it in a borrow’d name:
Euphelia serves to grace my measure;
   But Chloe is my real flame.

My softest verse, my darling lyre,
   Upon Euphelia’s toilet lay;
When Chloe noted her desire
   That I should sing, that I should play.

My lyre I tune, my voice I raise;
   But with my numbers mix my sighs:
And while I sing Euphelia’s praise,
   I fix my soul on Chloe’s eyes.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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