Addressed to Miss B. by Robert Treat Paine, Junior

Poor is the friendless master of the globe,
And keen the ingrate’s heart-inserted probe;
But keener woes that wretch is doomed to prove,
The poorer hermit of unfriended love!

Oh, woman! subtle, lovely, faithless sex!
Born to enchant, thou studiest to perplex;
Adored as queen, thou play’st the tyrant’s part,
And, taught to govern, would’st enslave the heart.

Now, cold as ice-plant, fickle as the wind,
Nor pity melts, nor pride can fix thy mind;
Now, warm and faithful as the cooing dove,
Thou breath’st no wish, and sing’st no note, but love!

In thee has Nature such elastick power,
She changes seasons, as she turns the hour;
In one short day, you roll through every sign,
From Passion’s tropics, to Decorum’s line.

Now from above, in vertic-heat you blaze,
And melting stoicks half enamoured gaze;
Now, dim from far your rays obliquely gleam,
And freeze the current of the poet’s stream.

Thus, through our system, Nature’s frolick child,
Fair woman, roves, a comet, bright and wild;
Supreme in art, our purblind sex she rules:
Wits may be lovers–lovers must be fools.

From: Paine, Robert Treat, Jr., The Works, in Verse and Prose, of the Late Robert Treat Paine, Jun. Esq. with Notes. To which are prefixed, sketches of his life, character and writings, 1812, J. Belcher:Boston, pp. 125-126.
(https://archive.org/details/worksinversepros00painrich)

Date: c1795

By: Robert Treat Paine, Junior (1773-1811)

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