The Secretary

A poem by Matthew Prior

While with labour assiduous due pleasure I mix,
And in one day atone for the business of six,
In a little Dutch chaise, on a Saturday night,
On my left hand my Horace, a W* on my right
No memoirs to compose, and no postboy to move,
That on Sunday may hinder the softness of love;
For her, neither visits, nor parties at tea,
Nor the long-winded cant of a dull refugee:
This night and the next shall be here, shall be mine,
To good or ill fortune the third we resign:
Thus scorning the world, and superior to fate,
I drive on my car in processional state;
So with Phia through Athens Pisistratus rode,
Men thought her Minerva, and him a new god.
But why should I stories of Athens rehearse,
Where people knew love, and were partial to verse;
Since none can with justice my pleasure oppose,
In Holland half drown'd in interest and prose?
By Greece and past ages what need I be tried,
When the Hague and the present are both on my side?
And is it enough for the joys of the day
To think what Anacreon or Sappho would say?
When good Vendergoes and his provident Vrow,
As they gaze on my triumph, do freely allow
That search all the province, you'll find no man dar is
So bless'd as the English heer Secretar' is.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'The Secretary' by Matthew Prior

comments powered by Disqus