An Ode To A Lady. She Refusing To Continue A Dispute With Me, And Leaving Me In The Argument

A poem by Matthew Prior

Spare, generous victor, spare the slave,
Who did unequal war pursue;
That more than triumph he might have,
In being overcome by you.

In the dispute, whate'er I said,
My heart was by my tongue belied;
And in my looks you might have read
How much I argued on your side.

You, far from danger as from fear,
Might have sustain'd an open fight;
For seldom your opinions err,
Your eyes are always in the right.

Why, fair one, would you not rely
On reason's force with beauty's join'd?
Could I their prevalence deny,
I must at once be deaf and blind.

Alas! not hoping to subdue,
I only to the fight aspired:
To keep the beauteous foe in view
Was all the glory I desired.

But she, howe'er of victory sure,
Contemns the wreath too long delay'd:
And arm'd with more immediate power,
Calls cruel silence to her aid.

Deeper to wound she shuns the fight;
She drops her arms, to gain the field;
Secures her conquest by her flight;
And triumphs, when she seems to yield.

So when the Parthian turn'd his steed,
And from the hostile camp withdrew,
With cruel skill the backward reed
He sent; and, as he fled, he slew.

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