Matthew Prior

1664 - 1721 / Dorset / England

Phyllis's Age

How old may Phyllis be, you ask,
Whose beauty thus all hearts engages?
To answer is no easy task;
For she has really two ages.

Stiff in brocard, and pinch'd in stays,
Her patches, paint, and jewels on;
All day let envy view her face;
And Phyllis is but twenty-one.

Paint, patches, jewels laid aside,
At night astronomers agree,
The evening has the day belied;
And Phyllis is some forty-three.
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