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  4. from To Alexis In Answer to His Poem Against Fruition by Aphra Behn
from To Alexis In Answer to His Poem Against Fruition

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Since man with that inconstancy was born,
To love the absent, and the present scorn
Why do we deck, why do we dress
For such short-lived happiness?
Why do we put attraction on,
Since either way ’tis we must be undone?

They fly if honour take our part,
Our virtue drives ’em o’er the field.
We love ’em by too much desert,
And oh! they fly us if we yield.
Ye gods! is there no charm in all the fair
To fix this wild, this faithless wanderer?

Man! our great business and our aim,
For whom we spread our fruitless snares,
No sooner kindles the designing flame,
But to the next bright object bears
The trophies of his conquest and our shame:
Inconstancy’s the good supreme
The rest is airy notion, empty dream!

Then heedless nymph, be rul’d by me
If e’re your swain the bliss desire;
Think like Alexis he may be
Whose wisht possession damps his fire;
The roving youth in every shade
Has left some sighing and abandon’d maid,
For ’tis a fatal lesson he has learn’d,
After fruition ne’er to be concern’d.



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