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The Gift (To Iris, In Bow Street, Covent Garden)
(10 November 1730 – 4 April 1774 / County Longford / Ireland)

The Gift (To Iris, In Bow Street, Covent Garden)

Poem By Oliver Goldsmith

SAY, cruel IRIS, pretty rake,
Dear mercenary beauty,
What annual offering shall I make,
Expressive of my duty?

My heart, a victim to thine eyes,
Should I at once deliver,
Say, would the angry fair one prize
The gift, who slights the giver?

A bill, a jewel, watch, or toy,
My rivals give-and let 'em;
If gems, or gold, impart a joy,
I'll give them-when I get 'em.

I'll give-but not the full-blown rose,
Or rose-bud more in fashion;
Such short-liv'd offerings but disclose
A transitory passion.

I'll give thee something yet unpaid,
Not less sincere, than civil:
I'll give thee-Ah! too charming maid,
I'll give thee-To the devil.

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