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To a Lady

by
 Spare, gen'rous victor, spare the slave,
Who did unequal war pursue;
That more than triumph he might have,
In being overcome by you.
In the dispute whate'er I said, My heart was by my tongue belied; And in my looks you might have read How much I argued on your side.
You, far from danger as from fear, Might have sustain'd an open fight: For seldom your opinions err: Your eyes are always in the right.
Why, fair one, would you not rely On Reason's force with Beauty's join'd? Could I their prevalence deny, I must at once be deaf and blind.
Alas! not hoping to subdue, I only to the fight aspir'd: To keep the beauteous foe in view Was all the glory I desir'd.
But she, howe'er of vict'ry sure.
Contemns the wreath too long delay'd; And, arm'd with more immediate pow'r, Calls cruel silence to her aid.
Deeper to wound, she shuns the fight: She drops her arms, to gain the field: Secures her conquest by her flight; And triumphs, when she seems to yield.
So when the Parthian turn'd his steed, And from the hostile camp withdrew; With cruel skill the backward reed He sent; and as he fled, he slew.

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