IN WHICH THE POET IS ASHAMED BUT PLEASED
Of all the things that I would rather,
It is to be my daughter's father,
While she, with innocence divine,
Is quite contented to be mine.
I am distressingly aware
That this arrangement is unfair,
For I, when in my celibate garrison,
Acquired some standard of comparison.
I visited nurseries galore,
Compiled statistics by the score,
And gained experience from a crew
Of children passing in review.
I saw the best that parents vaunted;
They weren't exactly what I wanted;
Yet, all the offspring that I faced,
They served to cultivate my taste.
Thus, let the miser praise the mintage,
And let the vintner praise the vintage;
I'm conscious that in praising her,
I'm speaking as a connoisseur.
While she, poor dear, has never known
A father other than her own.
She wots of other girls' papas
No more than of the Persian Shah's.
Within her head no notion stirs
That some are better men than hers;
That some are richer, some are kinder,
Some are solider, some refineder,
That some are vastly more amusing,
Some fitter subjects for enthusing,
That some are cleverer, some are braver,
Than the one that fortune gave her.
What fortune set us side by side,
Her scope so narrow, mine so wide?
We owe to this sweet dispensation
Our mutual appreciation.