1694 | London

Sweet Regret

I should long to be fifteen.

Young I am, and yet unskill’d 
How to make a lover yield; 
How to keep, or how to gain, 
When to love, and when to feign. 

Take me, take me, some of you, 
While I yet am young and true;
Ere I can my soul disguise,
Heave my breasts, and roll my eyes.

Stay not till I learn the way,
How to lie, and to betray:
He that has me first, is blest,
For I may deceive the rest. 

Could I find a blooming youth, 
Full of love, and full of truth,
Brisk, and of a jaunty mien,
I should long to be fifteen.


John Dryden

“Song for a Girl.” Poet, dramatist, and critic, Dryden excelled at writing public poetry, contributing to a memorial volume for Oliver Cromwell in 1659, composing “To His Sacred Majesty” for the coronation of Charles II in 1661, and publishing “Annus Mirabilis” to commemorate a British naval victory in 1667.