As Nancy at her toilette sat,
Admiring this, and blaming that,
Tell me, she said, but tell me true,
The nymph who could your heart subdue.
What sort of charms does she possess?
Absolve me, fair one, I'll confess
With pleasure, I replied: Her hair,
In ringlets rather dark than fair,
Does down her ivory bosom roll,
And hiding half adorns the whole,
In her high forehead's fair half round
Love sits, in open triumph crown'd;
He, in the dimple of her chin,
In private state, by friends is seen.
Her eyes are neither black nor grey,
Nor fierce nor feeble is their ray;
Their dubious lustre seems to show
Something that speaks nor yes nor no.
Her lips no living bard, I weet,
May say how red, how round, how sweet:
Old Homer only could indite
Their vagrant grace and soft delight:
They stand recorded in his book,
When Helen smiled, and Hebe spoke -
The gypsy, turning to her glass,
Too plainly show'd she knew the face;
And which am I most like, she said,
Your Cloe or your Nut-brown Maid!

More verses by Matthew Prior