To A Lady, She Refusing to Continue a Dispute with me, and Leaving me in the Argument: An Ode

Original Text: 
John Dryden, ed., Miscellany, Vol. 5 (London: Jacob Tonson, 1704). B-11 815 Fisher Rare Book Library
1Spare, gen'rous victor, spare the slave,
2    Who did unequal war pursue;
3That more than triumph he might have,
4    In being overcome by you.
5In the dispute whate'er I said,
6    My heart was by my tongue belied;
7And in my looks you might have read
8    How much I argued on your side.
9You, far from danger as from fear,
10    Might have sustain'd an open fight:
11For seldom your opinions err:
12    Your eyes are always in the right.
13Why, fair one, would you not rely
14    On Reason's force with Beauty's join'd?
15Could I their prevalence deny,
16    I must at once be deaf and blind.
17Alas! not hoping to subdue,
18    I only to the fight aspir'd:
19To keep the beauteous foe in view
20    Was all the glory I desir'd.
21But she, howe'er of vict'ry sure.
22    Contemns the wreath too long delay'd;
23And, arm'd with more immediate pow'r,
24    Calls cruel silence to her aid.
25Deeper to wound, she shuns the fight:
26    She drops her arms, to gain the field:
27Secures her conquest by her flight;
28    And triumphs, when she seems to yield.
30    And from the hostile camp withdrew;
31With cruel skill the backward reed
32    He sent; and as he fled, he slew.


29] The Parthians, an Asiatic tribe, were proverbial for their prowess in using their arrows while retreating: cf. Virgil, Georgics, III, 31. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.524; RPO 1996-2000.