To The Author Of The Foregoing Pastoral - (Love And Friendship)

A poem by Matthew Prior

By Sylvia if thy charming self be meant;
If friendship be thy virgin vows' extent,
O! let me in Aminta's praises join,
Hers my esteem shall be, my passion thine.
When for thy head the garland I prepare,
A second wreath shall bind Aminta's hair;
And when my choicest songs thy worth proclaim,
Alternate verse shall bless Aminta's name;
My heart shall own the justice of her cause,
And Love himself submit to Friendship's laws.

But if beneath thy numbers' soft disguise
Some favour'd swain, some true Alexis, lies;
If Amaryllis breathes thy secret pains,
And thy fond heart beats measure to thy strains,
May'st thou, howe'er I grieve, for ever find
The flame propitious and the lover kind;
May Venus long exert her happy power,
And make thy beauty like thy verse endure:
May every god his friendly aid afford,
Pan guard thy flock, and Ceres bless thy board.

But if, by chance, the series of thy joys
Permit one thought less cheerful to arise,
Piteous transfer it to the mournful swain,
Who loving much, who not beloved again,
Feels an ill-fated passion's last excess,
And dies in wo that thou may'st live in peace.

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