I'm Not a Single Man

A PRETTY task, Miss S — — , to ask
— A Benedictine pen,
That cannot quite at freedom write
— Like those of other men.
No lover's plaint my Muse must paint
— To fill this page's span,
But be correct and recollect
— I'm not a single man.

Pray only think, for pen and ink
— How hard to get along,
That may not turn on words that burn,
— Or Love, the life of song!
Nine Muses, if I chooses, I
— May woo all in a clan;
But one Miss S — — I daren't address —
— I'm not a single man.

Scribblers unwed, with little head,
— May eke it out with heart,
And in their lays it often plays
— A rare first-fiddle part.
They make a kiss to rhyme with bliss,
— But if I so began,
I have my fears about my ears —
— I'm not a single man.

Upon your cheek I may not speak,
— Nor on your lip be warm,
I must be wise about your eyes,
— And formal with your form;
Of all that sort of thing, in short,
— On T. H. Bayly's plan,
I must not twine a single ine —
— I'm not a single man.

A watchman's part compels my heart
— To keep you off its beat,
And I might dare as soon to swear
— At you , as at your feet.
I can't expire in passion's fire
— As other poets can —
My life (she's by) won't let me die —
— I'm not a single man.

Shut out from love, denied a dove,
— Forbidden bow and dart;
Without a groan to call my own,
— With neither hand nor heart;
To Hymen vowed, and not allowed
— To flirt e'ndash with your fan,
Here end, as just a friend, I must —
— I'm not a single man.
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