English Poets of the Eighteenth Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 311 pages of information about English Poets of the Eighteenth Century.

  III

  What though in solemn silence all
  Move round the dark terrestrial ball;
  What though nor real voice nor sound
  Amidst their radiant orbs be found? 
  In reason’s ear they all rejoice,
  And utter forth a glorious voice: 
  Forever singing as they shine,
  ‘The hand that made us is divine.’

MATTHEW PRIOR

  TO A CHILD OF QUALITY FIVE YEARS OLD THE AUTHOR 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 fires, and look
  The power they have to be obeyed.

  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 silk-worms 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 lines 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 ordained (would fate but mend it!)
  That I shall be past making love
  When she begins to comprehend it.

  TO A LADY

  SHE REFUSING TO CONTINUE A DISPUTE WITH ME, AND LEAVING ME IN THE
  ARGUMENT

  Spare, generous victor, spare the slave
  Who did unequal war pursue,
  That more than triumph he might have
  In being overcome by you.

  In the dispute whate’er I said,
  My heart was by my tongue belied,
  And in my looks you might have read
  How much I argued on your side.

  You, far from danger as from fear,
  Might have sustained an open fight: 
  For seldom your opinions err;
  Your eyes are always in the right.

  Why, fair one, would you not rely
  On reason’s force with beauty’s joined? 
  Could I their prevalence deny,
  I must at once be deaf and blind.

  Alas! not hoping to subdue,
  I only to the fight aspired;
  To keep the beauteous foe in view
  Was all the glory I desired.

  But she, howe’er of victory sure,
  Contemns the wreath too long delayed,
  And, armed with more immediate power,
  Calls cruel silence to her aid.

  Deeper to wound, she shuns the fight: 
  She drops her arms, to gain the field;
  Secures her conquest by her flight,
  And triumphs when she seems to yield.

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English Poets of the Eighteenth Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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