The Coquette

by Aphra Behn

Melinda, who had never been
Esteemed a beauty at fifteen,
Always amorous was and kind.
      To every swain she lent an ear,
Free as air but false as wind;
      Yet none complained she was severe.
She eased more than she made complain,
Was always singing, pert, and vain.

Where'er the throng was, she was seen,
And swept the youths along the green.
With equal grace she flattered all;
      And fondly proud of all address,
Her smiles invite, her eyes do call,
      And her vain heart her looks confess.
She rallies this, to that she bowed,
Was talking ever, laughing loud.
On every side she makes advance,
And everywhere a confidence;
She tells for secrets all she knows,
      And all to know she does pretend.
Beauty in maids she treats as foes,
      But every handsome youth as friend.
Scandal still passes off for truth,
And noise and nonsense, wit and youth.

Coquette all o'er and every part,
Yet wanting beauty even of art,
Herds with the ugly and the old,
      And plays the critic on the rest;
Of men the bashful and the bold
      Either and all by turns likes best;
Ev'n now, though youth be languished, she
Sets up for love and gallantry.