The Lover: A Ballad

Original Text: 
Robert Dodsley, ed., A Collection of Poems by Several Hands (London: R. Dodsley, 1748). B-10 9141 Fisher Rare Book Library
1At length, by so much importunity press'd,
3This stupid indiff'rence so often you blame,
4Is not owing to nature, to fear, or to shame:
5I am not as cold as a virgin in lead,
6Nor is Sunday's sermon so strong in my head:
7I know but too well how time flies along,
8That we live but few years, and yet fewer are young.
9But I hate to be cheated, and never will buy
10Long years of repentance for moments of joy,
11Oh! was there a man (but where shall I find
12Good sense and good nature so equally join'd?)
13Would value his pleasure, contribute to mine;
14Not meanly would boast, nor would lewdly design;
15Not over severe, yet not stupidly vain,
16For I would have the power, tho' not give the pain.
18Or laughing, because he has nothing to say;
19To all my whole sex obliging and free,
20Yet never be fond of any but me;
21In public preserve the decorum that's just,
22And shew in his eyes he is true to his trust;
23Then rarely approach, and respectfully bow,
24But not fulsomely pert, nor yet foppishly low.
25But when the long hours of public are past,
26And we meet with champagne and a chicken at last,
27May ev'ry fond pleasure that moment endear;
28Be banish'd afar both discretion and fear!
29Forgetting or scorning the airs of the crowd,
30He may cease to be formal, and I to be proud.
31Till lost in the joy, we confess that we live,
32And he may be rude, and yet I may forgive.
33And that my delight may be solidly fix'd,
34Let the friend and the lover be handsomely mix'd;
35In whose tender bosom my soul may confide,
36Whose kindness can soothe me, whose counsel can guide.
37From such a dear lover as here I describe,
38No danger should fright me, no millions should bribe;
39But till this astonishing creature I know,
40As I long have liv'd chaste, I will keep myself so.
41I never will share with the wanton coquette,
42Or be caught by a vain affectation of wit.
43The toasters and songsters may try all their art,
44But never shall enter the pass of my heart.
45I loath the lewd rake, the dress'd fopling despise:
46Before such pursuers the nice virgin flies:
48We harden like trees, and like rivers grow cold.


2] C----: the dramatist William Congreve. Back to Line
17] rake-helly gay: dissipated or immoral man of fashion. Back to Line
47] See the stories in Ovid's Metamorphoses of Daphne, Lotis, Syrinx, etc. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP 1.645.