This poem was written in response to Lady Mary Wortley Montague’s Augustan whining, which can be found here:
O Perfect Man!
Dear Lady forgive these expressions so bold:
This thought from your heart you have lent me to hold
Is wanting a drum or a passionate bent;
‘Tis not from your heart that this thought has been sent.
And yet I with you will place passion aside,
In order to fashion a possible bride.
So together we banish fair Eros–he falls.
If Apollo must reign, he must reign for us all.
Thus reason not reason is equally ‘plied,
When part of the argument wallows untried.
If stubbornly you will not passion entreat,
Allow me then to forge reason complete.
You crave above any defect solitude,
And dismiss every suitor not divinely imbued,
While alone in your tower you patiently wait,
Expectations blossoming trait after trait.
But O such a list! If there ever could be
One possess’d of all virtues, of all faults be free!
A lover, a scholar, a good natured friend,
A mentor, confessor, and ‘tributes on end!
‘Tis Nature decides who and what each become,
A critic to others, a songster to some.
Know, no one can claim all your infinite mix,
But each is coequal when pondering this:
There never a man was made pure or precise,
Devoid of all flaw, imperfection, or vice.
Of marble in Greece, perhaps pigment in Rome,
But never of flesh and never of bone.
With reason you conjured your connubial plan,
And chastely remain for this O Perfect Man,
But forgot to consider, so with reason desist–
For the O Perfect Man, he will never exist.
Rather know life is nothing but brevity made,
A moment in Time, a precious charade;
So one to the ball must venture a chance,
Or forever lament of the forfeited dance.