Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Matthew Prior. 1664–1721
  
425. On My Birthday, July 21
  
I, MY dear, was born to-day— 
So all my jolly comrades say: 
They bring me music, wreaths, and mirth, 
And ask to celebrate my birth: 
Little, alas! my comrades know         5
That I was born to pain and woe; 
To thy denial, to thy scorn, 
Better I had ne'er been born: 
I wish to die, even whilst I say— 
'I, my dear, was born to-day.'  10
I, my dear, was born to-day: 
Shall I salute the rising ray, 
Well-spring of all my joy and woe? 
Clotilda, thou alone dost know. 
Shall the wreath surround my hair?  15
Or shall the music please my ear? 
Shall I my comrades' mirth receive, 
And bless my birth, and wish to live? 
Then let me see great Venus chase 
Imperious anger from thy face;  20
Then let me hear thee smiling say— 
'Thou, my dear, wert born to-day.' 
 
 
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