To a Child of Quality, Five Years Old, the Author Suppos'd Forty

Original Text: 
John Dryden, ed., Miscellany, Vol. 5 (London: Jacob Tonson, 1704). B-11 815 Fisher Rare Book Library
1Lords, knights, and squires, the num'rous band,
2    That wear the fair Miss Mary's fetters,
3Were summon'd by her high command,
4    To show their passions by their letters.
5My pen amongst the rest I took,
6    Lest those bright eyes that cannot read
7Should dart their kindling fires, and look
8    The pow'r they have to be obey'd.
9Nor quality, nor reputation,
10    Forbid me yet my flame to tell,
11Dear Five-years-old befriends my passion,
12    And I may write till she can spell.
13For while she makes her silk-worms beds
14    With all the tender things I swear;
15Whilst all the house my passion reads,
16    In papers round her baby's hair;
17She may receive and own my flame,
18    For though the strictest prudes should know it,
19She'll pass for a most virtuous dame,
20    And I for an unhappy poet.
21Then too, alas! when she shall tear
22    The lines some younger rival sends;
23She'll give me leave to write, I fear,
24    And we shall still continue friends.
25For as our different ages move,
26    'Tis so ordain'd (would Fate but mend it)
27That I shall be past making love,
28    When she begins to comprehend it.
Publication Start Year: 
1704
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.524; RPO 1996-2000.
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