TO A LADY . . .
WHO PRESENTED THE AUTHOR A LOCK OF HAIR, BRAIDED WITH
AND APPOINTED A NIGHT IN DECEMBER TO MEET HIM IN THE GARDEN.
THESE locks which fondly thus entwine,
In firmer chains our hearts confine;
Than all th' unmeaning protestations,
Which swell with nonsense, love orations.
Our love is fix'd, I think we've prov'd it,
Nor time, nor place, nor art, have mov'd it;
Then wherefore should we sigh, and whine,
With groundless jealousy repine.
With silly whims, and fancies frantic,
Merely to make our love romantic.
Why should you weep like Lydia Languish,
And fret with self-created anguish.
Or doom the lover you have chosen,
On winter nights, to sigh half frozen:
In leafless shades, to sue for pardon,
Only because the scene's a garden.
For gardens seem by one consent
( Since Shakespeare set the precedent; )
( Since Juliet first declar'd her passion )
To form the place of assignation.
Oh! would some modern muse inspire,
And seat her by a sea-coal fire,
Or had the bard at Christmas written,
And laid the scene of love in Britain;
He surely in commiseration,
Had chang'd the place of declaration.
In Italy I've no objection,
Warm nights are proper for reflection;
But here, our climate is so rigid,
That love itself, is rather frigid;
Think on our chilly situation,
And curb this rage for imitation.
Then let us meet, as oft we've done,
Beneath the influence of the sun;
Or, if at midnight I must meet you,
Oh ! let me in your chamber greet you :
There we can love for hours together,
Much better in such snowy weather,
Than plac'd in all th' Arcadian groves,
That ever witness'd rural loves;
There if my passion fail to please,
Next night I'll be content to freeze;
No more I'll give a loose to laughter,
But curse my fate, forever after.