Matthew Prior

The New Year's Gift to Phyllis

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The circling months begin this day
To run their yearly ring,
And long-breathed time, which ne'er will stay,
Refits his wings and shoots away,
It round again to bring.
Who feels the force of female eyes
And thinks some nymph divine,
Now brings his annual sacrifice,
Some pretty toy or neat device
To offer at her shrine.
But I can pay no offering
To show how I adore,
Since I have but a heart to bring —
A downright foolish, faithful thing,
And that you had before.
Yet we may give, for custom sake,
What will to both be new:
My constancy a gift I'll make
And in return of it will take
Some levity from you.

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Matthew Prior