Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
On My Birthday
By Matthew Prior (1664–1721)
 
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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