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.
 
The Secretary, Written at The Hague
By Matthew Prior (1664–1721)
 
In the Year 1696

WHILE with labour assid’ous 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 Nymph on my right.
No Memoire to compose, and no Post-Boy to move,        5
That on Sunday may hinder the softness of love;
For her, neither visits, nor parties of tea,
Nor the long-winded cant of a dull refugee.
This night and the next shall be hers, shall be mine,
To good or ill fortune the third we resign:        10
Thus scorning the world, and superior to fate,
I drive on my car in professional state;
So with Phia thro’ Athens Pisistratus rode,
Men thought her Minerva, and him a new god.
But why should I stories of Athens rehearse,        15
Where people knew love, and were partial to verse,
Since none can with justice my pleasures oppose,
In Holland half drowned in int’rest and prose:
By Greece and past ages, what need I be tried,
When the Hague and the present, are both on my side,        20
And is it enough, for the joys of the day;
To think what Anacreon, or Sappho would say.
When good Vandergoes, and his provident Vrough,
As they gaze on my triumph, do freely allow,
That, search all the province, you’d find no man there is        25
So blessed as the Englishen Heer SECRETARIS.
 
 
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