Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
The Old Coquette (from Satire V, on Women)
By Edward Young (1681–1765)
‘BUT adoration! give me something more,’
Cries Lycé on the borders of threescore.
Nought treads so silent as the foot of Time:
Hence we mistake our autumn for our prime.
’Tis greatly wise to know before we ’re told        5
The melancholy news that we grow old.
Autumnal Lycé carries in her face
Memento mori to each public place.
O how your beating breast a mistress warms
Who looks through spectacles to see your charms,        10
While rival undertakers hover round
And with his spade the sexton marks the ground!
Intent not on her own, but others’ doom,
She plans new conquests and defrauds the tomb.
In vain the cock has summoned sprites away,        15
She walks at noon and blasts the bloom of day.
Gay rainbow silks her mellow charms infold,
And nought of Lycé but herself is old.
Her grizzled locks assume a smirking grace,
And art has levelled her deep furrowed face.        20
Her strange demand no mortal can approve,
We ’ll ask her blessing, but can’t ask her love.
She grants, indeed, a lady may decline
(All ladies but herself) at ninety-nine.

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