Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RIDDLE, by NATHANIEL COTTON

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First Line: To you, fair maidens, I address
Last Line: Can tremble and adhere.
Subject(s): Cotton

TO you, fair maidens, I address,
Sent to adorn your life;
And she who first my name can guess,
Shall first be made a wife.

From the dark womb of mother earth,
To mortal's aid I come;
But ere I can receive my birth,
I many shapes assume.

Passive by nature, yet I'm made
As active as the roe;
And oftentimes, with equal speed,
Through flowery lawns I go.

When wicked men their wealth consume,
And leave their children poor,
To me their daughters often come,
And I encrease their store.

The women of the wiser kind,
Did never once refuse me;
But yet I never once could find
That maids of honour use me.

The lily hand and brilliant eye,
May charm without my aid;
Beauty may strike the lover's eye,
And love inspire the maid.

But let the' enchanting nymph be told,
Unless I grace her life,
She must have wondrous store of gold,
Or make a wretched wife.

Although I never hope to rest,
With Christians I go forth;
And while they worship to the east,
I prostrate to the north.

If you suspect hypocrisy,
Or think me insincere,
Produce the zealot, who, like me,
Can tremble and adhere.

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