Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Lines to an Inconstant Mistress (with Burns’s Adaptation)
By Sir Robert Ayton (1570–1638)
I DO confess thou’rt smooth and fair,
  And I might have gone near to love thee,
Had I not found the slightest prayer
  That lips could speak had power to move thee.
    But I can let thee now alone,        5
    As worthy to be loved by none.
I do confess thou’rt sweet, yet find
  Thee such an unthrift of thy sweets,
Thy favors are but like the wind
  Which kisseth everything it meets!        10
    And since thou canst love more than one,
    Thou’rt worthy to be loved by none.
The morning rose that untouched stands,
  Armed with her briers, how sweet she smells!
But plucked and strained through ruder hands,        15
  Her scent no longer with her dwells.
    But scent and beauty both are gone,
    And leaves fall from her one by one.
Such fate ere long will thee betide,
  When thou hast handled been awhile,        20
Like fair flowers to be thrown aside;
  And thou shalt sigh while I shall smile,
    To see thy love to every one
    Hath brought thee to be loved by none.
Burns’s Adaptation

I DO confess thou art sae fair,
  I wad been ower the lugs in love
Had I na found the slightest prayer
  That lips could speak, thy heart could move.
I do confess thee sweet—but find
  Thou art sae thriftless o’ thy sweets,        30
Thy favors are the silly wind,
  That kisses ilka thing it meets.
See yonder rosebud rich in dew,
  Among its native briers sae coy,
How sune it tines its scent and hue        35
  When pu’d and worn a common toy.
Sic fate, ere lang, shall thee betide,
  Tho’ thou may gaily bloom awhile;
Yet sune thou shalt be thrown aside
  Like any common weed and vile.        40

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