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

Too Plain, Dear Youth, These Tell-tale Eyes

Soame Jenyns (1704–1787)

TOO plain, dear youth, these tell-tale eyes

My heart your own declare;

But for love’s sake let it suffice

You reign triumphant there.

Forbear your utmost power to try,

Nor further urge your sway;

Press not for what I must deny,

For fear I should obey.

Could all your arts successful prove,

Would you a maid undo,

Whose greatest failing is her love,

And that her love for you?

Say, would you use that very power

You from her fondness claim,

To ruin in one fatal hour

A life of spotless fame?

Resolve not then to do an ill,

Because perhaps you may;

But rather us your utmost skill

To save me, than betray.

Be you yourself my virtue’s guard;

Defend, and not pursue;

Since ’tis a task for me too hard

To strive with love and you.