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Priscilla Pointon, “Address to a Bachelor, On a delicate Occasion”

PRISCILLA POINTON

“Address to a Bachelor, On a delicate Occasion”

Inserted by Desire.

You bid me write, Sir, I comply,
Since I my grave airs can’t deny.
But say, how can my Muse declare
The situation of the Fair,
That full six hours had sat, or more,                                       5
And never once been out of door?
Tea, wine, and punch, Sir, to be free,
Excellent diuretics be:
I made it so appear, it’s true,
When at your House, last night, with you:                            10
Blushing, I own, to you I said,
“I should be glad you’d call a maid.”
“The girls,” you answer’d “are from home,
Nor can I guess when they’ll return.”
Then in contempt you came to me,                                        15
And sneering cry’d, “Dear Miss, make free;
“Let me conduct you—don’t be nice—
Or if a bason is your choice,
To fetch you one I’ll instant fly.”
I blush’d, but could not make reply;                                       20
Confus’d, to find myself the joke,
I silent sat till TRUEWORTH spoke:
“To go with me, Miss, don’t refuse,
Your loss this freedom will excuse.”
To him my hand reluctant gave,                                              25
And out he led me very grave;
Whilst you and CHATFREE laugh’d aloud,
As if to dash a Maid seem’d proud.
But I the silly jest despise,
Since well I know each man that’s wise;                                30
All affectation does disdain,
Since it in Prudes and Coxcombs reign:
So I repent not what I’ve done;
Adieu—enjoy your empty fun.

NOTES: 

diuretics “Having the quality of exciting (excessive) excretion or discharge of urine” (OED).

17 nice “Precise or particular in matters of reputation or conduct” (OED).

18 bason Variation of “basin,” “a circular vessel of greater width than depth, with sloping or curving sides, used for holding water and other liquids, especially for washing purposes” (OED).

22 TRUEWORTH An allusion to Mr. Trueworth, a character in Eliza Haywood’s novel The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless (1751) who represents the ideal gentleman.

27 CHATFREE An allusion to Mr. Chatfree, a character in the same novel who represents a less-than-ideal gentlemanly figure.

28 dash “To destroy, ruin, confound, bring to nothing, frustrate, spoil” (OED).

32 Coxcombs “A vain, conceited, or pretentious man; a man of ostentatiously affected mannerisms or appearance; a fop. In later use usually in form coxcomb” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (1770), pp. 31-34. [Google Books]

Edited by Michelle Yu