John Gay (30 June 1685 – 4 December 1732 / Barnstaple, England)
To a Lady
When I some antique Jar behold,
Or white, or blue, or speck'd with gold,
Vessels so pure, and so refin'd
Appear the types of woman-kind:
Are they not valu'd for their beauty,
Too fair, too fine for household duty?
With flowers and gold and azure dy'd,
Of ev'ry house the grace and pride?
How white, how polish'd is their skin,
And valu'd most when only seen!
She who before was highest priz'd
Is for a crack or flaw despis'd;
I grant they're frail, yet they're so rare,
The treasure cannot cost too dear!
But Man is made of coarser stuff,
And serves convenience well enough;
He's a strong earthen vessel made,
For drudging, labour, toil and trade;
And when wives lose their other self,
With ease they bear the loss of Delf.
Comments about this poem (To a Lady by John Gay )
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