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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
To a Child of Quality
By Matthew Prior (1664–1721)
 
LORDS, knights, and squires, the numerous band
  That wear the fair Miss Mary’s fetters,
Were summoned by her high command
  To show their passions by their letters.
 
My pen among the rest I took,        5
  Lest those bright eyes that cannot read
Should dart their kindling fires, and look
  The power they have to be obeyed.
 
Nor quality nor reputation
  Forbid me yet my flame to tell;        10
Dear five-year-old befriends my passion,
  And I may write till she can spell.
 
For while she makes her silkworms beds
  With all the tender things I swear,
Whilst all the house my passion reads        15
  In papers round her baby’s hair,
 
She may receive and own my flame;
  For though the strictest prudes should know it,
She’ll pass for a most virtuous dame,
  And I for an unhappy poet.        20
 
Then, too, alas! when she shall tear
  The lines some younger rival sends,
She’ll give me leave to write, I fear,
  And we shall still continue friends.
 
For as our different ages move,        25
  ’Tis so ordained, (would Fate but mend it!)
That I shall be past making love
  When she begins to comprehend it.
 
 
CONTENTS · GENERAL INDEX · SONGS & LYRICS · BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY
READER’S DIGEST · STUDENT’S COURSE · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
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