Mira to Octavia

Fair one, to you this monitor I send;
Octavia, pardon your officious friend:
You think your conduct merits only praise,
But outlawed poets censure whom they please.
Thus we begin — your servant has been told
That you (despising settlements and gold)
Determine Florio, witty, young and gay,
To have and hold for ever and for aye;
And view that person as your mortal foe,
Who dares object against your charming beau;
But now, to furnish metre for my song,
Let us suppose Octavia may be wrong:
'Tis true you're lovely; yet the learned aver
That even beauties like the rest may err.

I know, to shun you hold it as a rule
The arrant coxcomb and the stupid fool:
Not such is Florio, he has wit — 'tis true,
Enough, Octavia, to impose on you:
Yet such a wit you'll, by experience, find
Worse than a fool that's complaisant and kind:
It only serves to gild his vices o'er,
And teach his malice how to wound the more.

I need not tell you, most ingenious fair,
That hungry mortals are not fed with air,
But solid food: and this voracious clay
Asks drink and victuals more than once a day:
Now could your Florio by his wit inspire
The chilly hearth to blaze with lasting fire;
Or when his children round the table throng,
By an allusion or a sprightly song
Adorn the board, i' th' twinkling of an eye,
With a hot pasty or a warden-pie,
There might be reason on Octavia's side,
And not a sage could blame the prudent bride.

Yet (or some authors often deal in lies)
Lovers may live on nuts and blackberries;
For roving knights bewildered in their way,
Who in black forests half a season stray,
Unless they find provision on the trees,
Must sup on grass and breakfast on the breeze.
But as you've been long used to nicer fare,
Your constitution would but hardly bear
Such food as this: and therefore I advise
That you'd consider (for you're mighty wise)
If sober Dusterandus would not make
A better husband than your darling rake.
Grave Dusterandus: he whose steadfast mind
Is yet untainted, though not much refined;
Whose soul ne'er roves beyond his native fields,
Nor asks for joys but what his pasture yields;
On life's dull cares with patience can attend,
A gentle master and a constant friend;
Who in soft quiet spends the guiltless days,
His servants' blessing and his neighbours' praise.
Say, would you, in his happy mansion, reign,
Toast of the village and the rural plain;
With honest friends your cheerful days beguile,
While peace and plenty on your table smile:
Or, cold and hungry, writhe your tired jaws,
And dine with Florio upon hips and haws?
In truth I think there's little room to pause.

In spite of all romantic poets sing,
This gold, my dearest, is an useful thing:
Not that I'd have you hoard the precious store,
For not a wretch is like the miser poor:
Enjoy your fortune with a cheerful mind,
And let the blessing spread among the kind;
But if there's none but Florio will do,
Write ballads both, and you may thrive — Adieu.
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