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Elegy XII: He curses his letter because it was not answered.

Ah, pity me, my friends! the cruel fair
Will neither read my just complaint, nor hear.
The billet-doux I sent her she return'd,
And e'en to ope the tender letter scorn'd
Ill was the omen, for the slave I sent
Trip'd at the sill as out of doors he went.
If e'er you on an errand go for me,
More careful, sirrah! how you stumble, be;
Step soberly, and warily along;
The end's ne'er right if the beginning's wrong.
Sinee thus in vain her pity I implore,
I'll ne'er to tablets trust my passion more;
Nor with my wax for death my warrant seal;
Worse than her scorn, what torture can I feel?
From combs of Cosica the wax was ta'en,
The latent poison was the lover's bane.
Bees there from venom'd flow'rs their honey suck,
And surely to my wax that venom stuck.
Chance on the seal did my misfortune paint,
And show'd my doom by the vermilion teint.
Curse on the instruments of my disgrace !
May you lie rotting in some filthy place;
By carts run o'er may you to bits be torn,
And your mishap revenge Corinna's scorn !
The man that first to smooth your surface toil'd,
The wooden work with hands impure defil'd;
Gibbets and racks should of the wood be made,
And the rough tools of all the murd'ring trade.
Bats roosted in its branches as it grew,
And birds of prey for shelter thither flew:
The vulture, and all kind of rav'nous fowl,
There hatch their young, and there the om'nous owl.
How mad to use such tablets must I be?
Curst and ill fated, as their parent tree!
Were these fit things soft sentiments to bear,
And to a lady tell a lover's care?
Lawyers, on you, might horrid jargon write,
With sound the ear, with sense the soul to flight.
Well might your plain the wicked writings bear
Where the rich miser robs the ruin'd heir.
When I first purchas'd you, I feared no less,
Your numbers even made me doubt success:
May you by worms be in old age devour'd,
And by all mortals as by me abhor'd.

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load focus English (Christopher Marlowe)
load focus Latin (R. Ehwald, 1907)
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Corinna (Maine, United States) (1)

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TABULAE
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