Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
The Secretary
By Matthew Prior (1664–1721)
 
[Written at the Hague, in the year 1696.]

WHILE with labour assiduous due pleasure I mix,
And in one day atone for the business of six;
In a little Dutch-chaise on a Saturday night,
On my left hand my Horace, a Nymph on my right;
No Mémoire to compose and no Post-boy to move        5
That on Sunday may hinder the softness of love;
For her, neither visits, nor parties at tea,
Nor the long-winded cant of a dull refugee:
This night and the next shall be hers, shall be mine,
To good or ill fortune the third we resign:        10
Thus scorning the world and superior to fate
I drive on my car in processional state.
So with Phia through Athens Pisistratus rode;
Men thought her Minerva, and him a new God.
But why should I stories of Athens rehearse        15
Where people knew love, and were partial to verse;
Since none can with justice my pleasures oppose,
In Holland half-drowned in interest and prose?
By Greece and past ages what need I be tried,
When the Hague and the present are both on my side?        20
And is it enough for the joys of the day
To think what Anacreon or Sappho would say,
When good Vandergoes and his provident Vrouw,
As they gaze on my triumph, do freely allow,
That, search all the province, you’ll find no man dar is        25
So blessed as the Englishen Heer Secretar’ is.
 
 
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