To His Cold Mistress

Sophy Gray by John Millais

To His Cold Mistress

Shend me not, my mistress,
Send my not to Coventry,
Attend to kinder business, pray,
To mend and soften me.
Defriend-me-not, my darling,
Let me tender and atone.
Unbend a little, starling,
Ere we spend our years alone.
Shend me not, my mistress,
Send me not distressed and listless, pray –
O, end this plot, unblend us not,
Engender nor us misbegot:
For we have kenned such tenderness
And we have wended as we went –
We can re-friend such splendour, yes !
We can ascend and be unshent.

 To shend is a wonderful if now archaic verb meaning ‘to put to shame’ or ‘to reproach and scold’.

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