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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Written Extempore on a Halfpenny

Henry Fielding (1707–1754)

DEAR little, pretty, favourite ore,

That once increas’d Gloriana’s store

That lay within her bosom bless’d,

Gods might have envied thee thy nest.

I’ve read, imperial Jove of old

For love transform’d himself to gold:

And why, for a more lovely lass,

May he not now have lurk’d in brass;

Oh! rather than from her he’d part,

He’d shut that charitable heart,

That heart whose goodness nothing less

Than his vast power, could dispossess.

From Gloriana’s gentle touch

Thy mighty value now is such,

That thou to me art worth alone

More than his medals are to Sloan.

Not for the silver and the gold

Which Corinth lost should’st thou be sold:

Not for the envied mighty mass

Which misers wish, or M—h has:

Not for what India sends to Spain,

Nor all the riches of the Main.

While I possess thy little store,

Let no man call, or think, me poor;

Thee, while alive, my breast shall have,

My hand shall grasp thee in the grave:

Nor shalt thou be to Peter given

Tho’ he should keep me out of heaven.