To a Young Lady
by Richard Savage (1698-1743)
Polly, from me, though now a love-sick youth,
Nay, though a poet, hear the voice of truth!
Polly, you’re not a beauty, yet you’re pretty;
So grave, yet gay; so silly, yet so witty;
A heart of softness, yet a tongue of satire;
You’ve cruelty, yet, e’en with that, good-nature:
Now you are free, and now reserved awhile;
Now a forced frown betrays a willing smile.
Reproach’d for absence, yet your sight denied;
My tongue you silence, yet my silence chide.
How would you praise me, should your sex defame!
Yet, should they praise, grow jealous, and exclaim.
If I despair, with some kind look you bless;
But if I hope, at once all hope suppress.
You scorn ; yet should my passion change or fail,
Too late you’d whimper out a softer tale.
You love; yet from your lover’s wish retire;
Doubt, yet discern; deny, and yet desire.
Such, Polly, are your sex—part truth, part fiction,
Some thought, much whim, and all a contradiction.