On a Beautiful Girl, Aged Fourteen, and a Milkmaid

Sweet Innocent! what Angel's hand shall guide
Those tempting beauties, that will soon inflame
The amorous Libertine to vice and shame,
Polluting what he loves — the maiden's pride —
With arts, or gifts, that subtle counsels hide,
And rebel passions, that ascendant claim;
Which nothing but the sad reverse can tame
Of infamy — to penitence allied? —
Beware of Man! till Honour gives the word
Of ripe assent, improv'd by Love's delay; —
The word, that choice and sympathy have bound
With sacred impulse, and with hearts preferr'd.
But fly the hand that courts thee to betray —
Nor touch the wreath in which a serpent 's found.
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