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

To Fix Her,—’Twere a Task As Vain

Tobias George Smollett (1721–1771)

TO fix her,—’twere a task as vain

To count the April drops of rain,

To sow in Afric’s barren soil,—

Or tempests hold within a toil.

I know it, friend, she’s light as air,

False as the fowler’s artful snare,

Inconstant as the passing wind,

As winter’s dreary frost unkind.

She’s such a miser too, in love,

Its joys she’ll neither share nor prove;

Though hundreds of gallants await

From her victorious eyes their fate.

Blushing at such inglorious reign,

I sometimes strive to break her chain;

My reason summon to my aid,

Resolved no more to be betray’d.

Ah, friend! ’tis but a short-lived trance,

Dispell’d by one enchanting glance;

She need but look, and I confess

Those looks completely curse, or bless.

So soft, so elegant, so fair,

Sure, something more than human’s there;

I must submit, for strife is vain,

’Twas destiny that forged the chain.