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ODE IV. To a GENTLEMAN whose MISTRESS had married an old Man.

1 INDEED, my PHAEDRIA, if to find
2 That gold a female's vow can gain,
3 If this had e'er disturb'd your mind,
4 Or cost one serious moment's pain,
5 I should have said that all the rules
6 You learnt of moralists and schools,
7 Were very useless, very vain.
8 Yet I perhaps mistake the case;
9 And tho' with this heroic air,
10 Like one that holds a nobler chace,
11 You seem the lady's loss to bear,
12 Perhaps your heart bely'd your tongue,
13 And thinks my censure mighty wrong
14 To count it such a flight affair.
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15 When HESPER gilds the shaded sky,
16 Slow wand'ring through the well-known grove,
17 Methinks I see you cast your eye
18 Back to the morning-scenes of love:
19 Her tender look, her graceful way,
20 The pretty things you heard her say,
21 Afresh your struggling fancy move.
22 Then tell me, is your soul intire?
23 Does wisdom calmly hold her throne?
24 Then can you question each desire,
25 Bid this remain, and that begone?
26 No tear half-starting from your eye?
27 No kindling blush you know not why?
28 No stealing sigh or stifled groan?
29 Away with this unmanly mood!
30 See where the hoary churl appears,
31 Whose hand hath seiz'd the fav'rite good
32 Which you reserv'd for happier years;
33 While side by side the blushing maid
34 Shrinks from his visage half-afraid,
35 Spite of the sickly joy she wears.
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36 Ye guardian pow'rs of love and fame,
37 This chaste, harmonious pair behold;
38 And thus reward the gen'rous flame
39 Of all who barter vows for gold.
40 O bloom of youth and opening charms
41 Well-buried in a dotard's arms!
42 O worthy price of beauty sold!
43 Cease then to gaze, unthankful boy;
44 Let, let her go, the venal fair!
45 Unworthy she to give you joy;
46 Then wherefore should she give you care?
47 Lay, lay your myrtle garland down,
48 And let the willow's virgin-crown
49 With happier omens bind your hair.
50 O just escap'd the faithless main,
51 Tho' driv'n unwilling on the land!
52 To guide your favour'd steps again,
53 Behold your better genius stand:
54 Where PLATO'S olive courts your eye,
55 Where HAMDEN'S laurel blooms on high,
56 He lists his heav'n directed hand.
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57 When these are blended on your brow,
58 The willow will be nam'd no more;
59 Or if that love-deserted bough
60 The pitying, laughing girls deplore,
61 Yet still shall I most freely swear,
62 Your dress has much a better air
63 Than all that ever bridegroom wore.

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    Title (in Source Edition): ODE IV. To a GENTLEMAN whose MISTRESS had married an old Man.
    Author: Mark Akenside
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    Genres: ode

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    Akenside, Mark, 1721-1770. Odes on several subjects. London: printed for R. Dodsley. And sold by M. Cooper. M.DCC.XLV., 1745, pp. 19-22. 54p.; 4⁰. (ESTC T42068; OTA K027268.000) (Page images digitized by University of California Libraries.)

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    The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.