Nancy: a Song


YOU ask me, dear Nancy, what makes me presume
That you cherish a secret affection for me?
When we see the Flow’rs bud, don’t we look for the Bloom?
Then, sweetest, attend, while I answer to thee.
When we Young Men with pastimes the Twilight beguile, 5
I watch your plump cheek till it dimples with joy:
And observe, that whatever occasions the smile,
You give me a glance; but provokingly coy.
Last Month, when wild Strawberries pluckt in the Grove,
Like beads on the tall seeded grass you had strung; 10
You gave me the choicest; I hop’d ’twas for Love;
And I told you my hopes while the Nightingale sung.
Remember the Viper:—’twas close at your feet;
How you started, and threw yourself into my arms;
Not a Strawberry there was so ripe nor so sweet 15
As the lips which I kiss’d to subdue your alarms.
As I pull’d down the clusters of Nuts for my Fair,
What a blow I receiv’d from a strong bending bough;
Though Lucy and other gay lasses were there,
Not one of them show’d such compassion as you, 20
And was it compassion?—by Heaven ’twas more!
A telltale betrays you;—that blush on your cheek.
Then come, dearest Maid, all your trifling give o’er,
And whisper what Candour will teach you to speak.
Can you stain my fair Honour with one broken vow? 25
Can you say that I’ve ever occasion’d a pain?
On Truth’s honest base let your tenderness grow:
I swear to be faithful, again and again. [1] 


[1] [1st edn, 1st state adds note:] Simply pleasing. C. L.] omitted in 1st edn, 2nd state and later edns BACK