Lady Mary Wortley Montagu


An Answer to a Love-Letter, in Verse


Is it to me this sad lamenting strain?
Are Heaven's choicest gifts bestow'd in vain?
A plenteous fortune and a beauteous bride,
Your love rewarded, and content your pride;
Yet, leaving her, 'tis me that you pursue,
Without one single charm -- but being new.
How vile is man! How I detest the ways
Of covert falsehood and designing praise!
As tasteless, easier happiness you slight,
Ruin your joy, and mischief your delight.
Why should poor pug (the mimic of your kind)
Wear a rough chain, and be to box confin'd?
Some cup, perhaps, he breaks, or tears a fan,
While moves, unpunish'd, the destroyer man;
Not bound by vows, and unrestrain'd by shame,
In sport you break the heart, and rend the fame.
Not that your art can be successful here,
Th' already plunder'd need no robber fear.
Nor sighs nor charms, nor flattery, can move,
Too well secur'd against a second love.
Once, and but once, that devil charm'd my mind,
To reason deaf, to observation blind,
I idly hop'd (what cannot Love persuade!)
My fondness equall'd and my truth repaid:
Slow to distrust, and willing to believe;
Long hush'd my doubts, I would myself deceive.

But oh! too soon -- this tale would ever last --
Sleep on my wrongs, and let me think them past.
For you, who mourn with counterfeited grief,
And ask so boldly, like a begging thief,
May soon some other nymph inflict the pain
You know so well with cruel art to feign.
Though long you've sported with Dan Cupid's dart,
You may see eyes, and you may feel a heart.
So the brisk wits who stop the evening coach,
Laugh at the fear that follows their approach;
With idle mirth and haughty scorn despise
The passenger's pale cheek and staring eyes;
But seiz'd by justice, find a fright no jest,
And all the terror doubled in their breast.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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