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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

A Better Answer

By Matthew Prior (1664–1721)

DEAR CHLOE, how blubbered is that pretty face;

Thy cheek all on fire, and thy hair all uncurled:

Pr’ythee quit this caprice; and (as old Falstaff says)

Let us e’en talk a little like folks of this world.

How canst thou presume thou hast leave to destroy

The beauties which Venus but lent to thy keeping?

Those looks were designed to inspire love and joy:

More ord’nary eyes may serve people for weeping.

To be vexed at a trifle or two that I writ:

Your judgment at once, and my passion you wrong;

You take that for fact, which will scarce be found wit:

’Ods life! must one swear to the truth of a song?

What I speak, my fair Chloe, and what I write, shows

The difference there is betwixt nature and art:

I court others in verse, but I love thee in prose;

And they have my whimsies, but thou hast my heart.

The god of us verse-men,—you know, child,—the sun,

How after his journeys he sets up his rest;

If at morning o’er earth ’tis his fancy to run,

At night he declines on his Thetis’s breast.

So when I am wearied with wandering all day,

To thee, my delight, in the evening I come;

No matter what beauties I saw in my way,

They were but my visits, but thou art my home.

Then finish, dear Chloe, this pastoral war;

And let us, like Horace and Lydia, agree:

For thou art a girl as much brighter than her,

As he was a poet sublimer than me.