Oct. 20, 2014: A SONG (Laetitia Pilkington)

Dear readers,

I just stumbled upon a most fascinating biography, that of Laetitia Pilkington (1708-1750). It wasn’t really a biography, just a biographical sketch that was astonishingly rich and funny. She was born in Dublin to a surgeon father and aristocrat mother, married a priest of the Church of Ireland, became friends with Jonathan Swift, moved to London, and then… well, then things went all to heck, if you’ll pardon the swear. You have to read this essay:


In the essay, author Ruth Graham describes the poem below as a poem about “sexual rejection.” Look, OK, we all know I’m naive, but I just don’t get that. Perhaps some of our more perverse readers can help me out?

Anyway, it’s three couplets of ABAB rhyme scheme, iambic, lines alternating 4 feet (tetrameter) and 3 feet (trimeter). And I dare say it’s perfect meter, not an extra half-foot or off-beat to be found (excepting perhaps “liberty” in line 8?). Enjoy! -ed.


Strephon, your breach of faith and trust

Affords me no surprise;

A man who grateful was, or just,

Might make my wonder rise.

That heart to you so fondly tied,

With pleasure wore its chain,

But from your cold neglectful pride,

Found liberty again.

For this no wrath inflames my mind,

My thanks are due to thee;

Such thanks as gen’rous victors find,

Who set their captives free.


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