On My Birthday, July 21

by Matthew Prior

I, MY dear, was born to-day--

So all my jolly comrades say:

They bring me music, wreaths, and mirth,

And ask to celebrate my birth:

Little, alas! my comrades know

That I was born to pain and woe;

To thy denial, to thy scorn,

Better I had ne'er been born:

I wish to die, even whilst I say--

'I, my dear, was born to-day.'

I, my dear, was born to-day:

Shall I salute the rising ray,

Well-spring of all my joy and woe?

Clotilda, thou alone dost know.

Shall the wreath surround my hair?

Or shall the music please my ear?

Shall I my comrades' mirth receive,

And bless my birth, and wish to live?

Then let me see great Venus chase

Imperious anger from thy face;

Then let me hear thee smiling say--

'Thou, my dear, wert born to-day.'