Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
To a Lady
By Matthew Prior (1664–1721)
 
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,        5
  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:        10
For seldom your opinions err;
  Your eyes are always in the right.
 
Why, fair one, would you not reply
  On Reason’s force with Beauty’s joined?
Could I their prevalence deny,        15
  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.        20
 
But she, howe’er of victory sure,
  Contemns the wreath too long delayed,
And, armed with more immediate pow’r,
  Calls cruel silence to her aid.
 
Deeper to wound, she shuns the fight;        25
  She drops her arms, to gain the field;
Secures her conquest by her flight,
  And triumphs, when she seems to yield.
 
So when the Parthian turned his steed
  And from the hostile camp withdrew,        30
With cruel skill the backward reed
  He sent; and as he fled, he slew.
 
 
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