To A Young Lady, Who Was Fond Of Fortune-Telling

A poem by Matthew Prior

You, Madam, may, with safety go
Decrees of destiny to know;
For at your birth kind planets reign'd,
And certain happiness ordain'd:
Such charms as yours are only given
To chosen favourites of Heaven.
But such is my uncertain state
'Tis dangerous to try my fate;
For I would only know from art
The future motions of your hert,
And what predestinated doom
Attends my love for years to come,
No secrets else that mortals learn
My cares deserve, or life concern;
But this will so important be
I dread to search the dark decree;
For while the smallest hope remains
Faint joys are mingled with my pains.
Vain distant views my fancy please,
And give some intermitting ease;
But should the stars too plainly show
That you have doom'd my endless wo,
No human force or art could bear
The torment of my wild despair.
This secret then I dare not know,
And other truths are useless now.
What matters if, unbless'd in love,
How long or short my life will prove?
To gratify what low desire
Should I with needless haste inquire,
How great how wealthy I shall be?
Oh, what is wealth or power to me!
If I am happy or undone,
It must proceed from you alone.

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