Charles Sackville

(Dorset, England / 24 January 1638 – 29 January 1706)

To An Antiquated Coquette - Poem by Charles Sackville

Phyllis, if you will not agree
To give me back my liberty,
In spite of you I must regain
My loss of time and break your chain.
You were mistaken if you thought
I was so grossly to be caught;
Or that I was so blindly bred,
As not to be in woman read.
Perhaps you took me for a fool,
Design'd alone your sex's tool;
Nay, you might think so made a thing,
That with a little fashioning,
I might in time for your dear sake,
That monster call'd a husband make:
Perhaps I might, had I not found
One darling vice in you abound --
A vice to me which e'er will prove
An antidote to banish love.
O! I could better bear an old,
Ugly, diseas'd, misshapen scold,
Or one who games, or will be drunk,
A fool, a spendthrift, bawd, or punk,
Than one at all who wildly flies,
And with soft, asking, giving eyes,
And thousand other wanton arts,
So meanly trades in begging hearts.
How might such wond'rous charms perplex,
Give chains or death to all our sex,
Did she not so unwisely set
For ev'ry flutt'ring fool her net!
So poorly proud of vulgar praise,
Her very look her thoughts betrays:
She never stays till we begin,
But beckons us her self to sin.
Ere we can ask, she cries consent,
So quick her yielding looks are sent,
They hope forestall and ev'n desire prevent.
But nature's turn'd when women woo --
We hate in them what we should do;
Desire's asleep and cannot wake

When women such advances make:
Both time and charms thus Phyllis wastes,
Since each must surfeit ere he tastes.
Nothing escapes her wand'ring eyes,
No one she thinks too mean a prize;
E'en Lynch, the lag of human kind,
Nearest to brutes by God design'd,
May boast the smiles of this coquette,
As much as any man of wit.
The signs hang thinner in the Strand,
The Dutch scarce more infest the land,
Tho' Egypt's locusts they outvie,
In number and voracity.
Whores are not half so plenty found,
In playhouse or that hallow'd ground
Of Temple Walks or Whetstone's Park:
Caresses less abound in Spark.
Then with kind looks for all who come
At bawdyhouse, the drawing room,
But all in vain she throws her darts --
They hit but cannot hurt our hearts.
Age has enerv'd her charms so much,
That fearless all her eyes approach;
Each her autumnal face degrades
With ``Rev'rend Mother of the Maids''!
But 'tis ill-natur'd to run on,
Forgetting what her charms have done;
To Teagueland we this beauty owe,
Teagueland her earliest charms did know:
There first her tyrant beauties reign'd,
Where'er she look'd she conquest gain'd.
No heart the glances could repel,
The Teagues by shoals before her fell;
And trotting bogs was all the art
The sound had left to save his heart.
She kill'd so fast, by my salvation,
She ne'er dispeopl'd had the nation,
Tho' she, good soul, to save took care
All, all she could from sad despair.
From thence she hither came to prove

If yet her charms could kindle love.
But ah! it was too late to try,
For spring was gone and winter nigh:
Yet tho' her eyes such conquests made
That they were shunn'd or else obey'd,
Yet now her charms are so decay'd,
She thanks each coxcomb that will deign
To praise her face and wear her chain.
So some old soldier who had done
Wonders in youth and battles won,

When feeble years his strength depose,
That he too weak to vanquish grows,
With mangled face and wooden leg,
Reduc'd about for alms to beg,
O'erjoy'd, a thousand thanks bestows
On him who but a farthing throws.


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Read poems about / on: thanks, women, soldier, husband, loss, despair, hate, strength, winter, woman, sad, spring, nature, mother, beauty, hope, alone, death, running, smile



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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