The Constant Swain and Virtuous Maid

Soon as the day begins to waste,
Straight to the well-known door I haste,
— And rapping there, I'm forced to stay
While Molly hides her work with care,
Adjusts her tucker and her hair,
— And nimble Becky scours away.

Entering, I see in Molly's eyes
A sudden smiling joy arise,
— As quickly checked by virgin shame:
She drops a curtsey, steals a glance,
Receives a kiss, one step advance. —
— If such I love, am I to blame?

I sit, and talk of twenty things,
Of South Sea stock, or death of kings,
— While only " Yes " or " No, " says Molly;
As cautious she conceals her thoughts,
As others do their private faults: —
— Is this her prudence, or her folly?

Parting, I kiss her lip and cheek,
I hang about her snowy neck,
— And cry, " Farewell, my dearest Molly! "
Yet still I hang and still I kiss,
Ye learned sages, say, is this
— In me the effect of love, or folly?

No — both by sober reason move, —
She prudence shows, and I true love —
— No charge of folly can be laid.
Then (till the marriage-rites proclaimed
Shall join our hands) let us be named
— The constant swain, the virtuous maid.
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