Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
My Mistresses
By Royall Tyler (1757–1826)
 
  LET Cowley soft in amorous verse
The rovings of his love rehearse,
  With passion most unruly,
Boast how he woo’d sweet Amoret,
The sobbing Jane, and sprightly Bet,        5
The lily fair and smart brunette,
  In sweet succession truly.
 
But list, ye lovers, and you ’ll swear,
I roved with him beyond compare,
  And was far more unlucky.        10
For never yet in Yankee coast
Were found such girls, who so could boast,
An honest lover’s heart to roast,
  From Casco to Kentucky.
 
When first the girls nicknamed me beau,        15
And I was all for dress and show,
  I set me out a courting.
A romping miss, with heedless art,
First caught, then almost broke, my heart.
Miss Conduct named; we soon did part,        20
  I did not like such sporting.
 
The next coquette, who raised a flame,
Was far more grave, and somewhat lame,
  She in my heart did rankle.
She conquer’d, with a sudden glance:        25
The spiteful slut was call’d Miss Chance;
I took the gipsy out to dance;
  She almost broke my ankle.
 
A thoughtless girl, just in her teens,
Was the next fair, whom love it seems        30
  Had made me prize most highly.
I thought to court a lovely mate,
But, how it made my heart to ache;
It was that jade, the vile Miss Take;
  In troth, love did it slyly.        35
 
And last Miss Fortune, whimpering came,
Cured me of love’s tormenting flame,
  And all my beau pretences.
In widow’s weeds, the prude appears;
See now—she drowns me with her tears,        40
With bony fist, now slaps my ears,
  And brings me to my senses.
 
 
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