"The Cautious Lovers" by Anne Kingsmill Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661 - 1720)
Apart we'll live, tho' not alone;
For, who alone can call
Those, who in Desarts live with One,
If in that One they've All?
The World a vast Meander is,
Where Hearts confus'dly stray;
Where Few do hit, whilst Thousands miss
The happy mutual Way:
Where Hands are by stern Parents ty'd,
Who oft, in Cupid's Scorn,
Do for the widow'd State provide,
Before that Love is born:
Where some too soon themselves misplace;
Then in Another find
The only Temper, Wit, or Face,
That cou'd affect their Mind.
Others (but oh! avert that Fate!)
A well-chose Object change:
Fly, Silvia, fly, ere 'tis too late;
Fall'n Nature's prone to range.
And, tho' in heat of Love we swear
More than perform we can;
No Goddess, You, but Woman are,
And I no more than Man.
Th' impatient Silvia heard thus long;
Then with a Smile reply'd;
Those Bands cou'd ne'er be very strong,
Which Accidents divide.
Who e'er was mov'd yet to go down,
By such o'er-cautious Fear;
Or for one Lover left the Town,
Who might have Numbers here?
Your Heart, 'tis true, is worth them all,
And still preferr'd the first;
But since confess'd so apt to fall,
'Tis good to fear the worst.
In ancient History we meet
A flying Nymph betray'd;
Who, had she kept in fruitful Crete,
New Conquest might have made.
And sure, as on the Beach she stood,
To view the parting Sails;
She curs'd her self, more than the Flood,
Or the conspiring Gales.
False Theseus, since thy Vows are broke,
May following Nymphs beware:
Methinks I hear how thus she spoke,
And will not trust too far.
In Love, in Play, in Trade, in War
They best themselves acquit,
Who, tho' their Int'rests shipwreckt are,
Keep unreprov'd their Wit.