Affected Indifference

Mark Akenside

Yes: you contemn the perjured maid
Who all your favourite hopes betray'd:
Nor, though her heart should home return,
Her tuneful tongue its falsehood mourn,

Her winning eyes your faith implore,
Would you her hand receive again,
Or once dissemble your disdain,
Or listen to the siren's theme,

Or stoop to love: since now esteem
And confidence, and friendship, is no more.

* * * * *

Yet tell me, Phaedria, tell me why,
When, summoning your pride, you try
To meet her looks with cool neglect,
Or cross her walk with slight respect

(For so is falsehood best repaid),
Whence do your cheeks indignant glow?
Why is your struggling tongue so slow?
What means that darkness on your brow,

As if with all her broken vow
You meant the fair apostate to upbraid?

Book I, Ode IV.

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