To a Child of Quality of Five Years Old

Lords, knights, and squires, the numerous band,
     That wear the fair Miss Mary's fetters,
Were summoned by her high command,
     To show their passions by their letters.

My pen amongst the rest I took,
     Lest those bright eyes that cannot read
Should dart their kindling fires, and look
     The power they have to be obeyed.

Nor quality, nor reputation,
     Forbid me yet my flame to tell,
Dear Five-years-old befriends my passion,
     And I may write till she can spell.

For while she makes her silk-worms beds
     With all the tender things I swear;
Whilst all the house my passion reads,
     In papers round her baby's hair;

She may receive and own my flame,
     For though the strictest prudes should know it,
She'll pass for a most virtuous dame,
     And I for an unhappy poet.

Then too, alas! when she shall tear
     The lines some younger rival sends;
She'll give me leave to write, I fear,
     And we shall still continue friends.

For as our different ages move,
     'Tis so ordained (would Fate but mend it)
That I shall be past making love,
     When she begins to comprehend it.