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Poem by Mary Wortley Montagu


A Character


Though a strong vanity may you persuade -
You are not for a politician made;
Your tropes are drawn from Robin Walpole's head,
Your sense is but repeating what he said;
A useful puppy, eminently known,
As proud to father what he will not own,
Some arguments he leaves you to expose,
Some valets flutter in my lord's old clothes.
But should he strip you of his borrow'd sense,
How poorly thin your boasted eloquence!
Know your own talents better, I advise;
Be brisk, yet dull, but aim not to look wise;
In low insipid rhymes place your delight;
Laugh without jests, and without reading write.
Despis'd men, in ladies' ruelles sit,
Where country coquettes bolster up your wit.
May all your minuets applauses meet!
An able coxcomb only in your feet.
By fawning lies, in leagues with court-knaves grow,
And smile on beauties whom you do not know.

Then, acting all the coyness of a lover,
Your no-intrigue endeavour to discover.
Aiming at wit, in many an evil hour,
Have the perpetual will without the power.
Conceit for breeding, rude for easy take,
Horseplay for wit, and noise for mirth mistake.
Love's perfect joys to perfect men belong;
Seek you but the occasion for a song.
Thus to the end of life may you remain
A merry blockhead, treacherous and vain. 



Mary Wortley Montagu


Mary Wortley Montagu's other poems:
  1. John Duke of Marlborough
  2. Epistle to Lord Hervey on the King's Birthday from the Country
  3. The Fifth Ode of the First Book of Horace Imitated
  4. Melinda's Complaint
  5. Town Eclogues: Wednesday; the Tête à Tête


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Robert Anderson A Character ("Near Lagan's banks, a mile from town")
  • Robert Service A Character ("How often do I wish I were")
  • Paul Hayne A Character ("YES, madame, I know you better, far better than those can know")
  • Menella Smedley A Character ("So noble that he cannot see")

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