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Elegy IV: To His Mistress, whose husband is invited to a feast with him. The poet instructed her how to behave herself in his company. By Dryden.

Your husband will be with us at the treat,
May that be the last supper he shall eat.
And am poor I, a guest invited there,
Only to see, while he may touch the fair?
To see you kiss, and hug your nauseous lord,
While his lewd hand descends below the board?
No wonder that Hippodamia's charms,
At such a sight, the Centaurs urg'd to arms:
That in a rage, they threw their cups aside,
Assail'd the bridegroom, and would force the bride.
I am not half a horse, (I would I were :)
Yet hardly can from you my hands forbear.
Take, then, my counsel; which observ'd, may be,
Of some importance both to you and me.
Be sure to come before your man be there,
There's nothing can be done, but come howe'er.
Sit next him, (that belongs to decency;)
But tread upon my foot in passing by.
Read in my looks what silently they speak,
And slily, with your eyes, your answer make.
My lifted eye-brow shall declare my pain,
My right hand to his fellow shall complain;
And on the back a letter shall design,
Beside a note that shall be writ in wine.
Whene'er you think upon our last embrace,
With your fore-finger gently touch your face.
If any word of mine offend my dear,
Pull with your hand the velvet of your ear;
If you are pleas'd with what I do or say,
Handle your rings, or vith your fingers play.
As suppliants use at altars, hold the board,
Whene'er you wish the devil may take your lord.
When he fills for you, never touch the cup,
But bid th' officious cuckold drink it up:
The waiter on those services employ;
Drink you, and I will snatch it from the boy,
Watching the part where your sweet mouth hath been,
And thence, with eager lips, will suck it in.
If he, with clownish manners, thinks it fit
To taste, and offer you the nasty bit,
Reject his greasy kindness, and restore
Th' unsav'ry morsel he had chew'd before.
Nor let his arms embrace your neck, nor rest
Your tender cheek upon his hairy breast;
Let not his hand within your bosom stray,
And rudely with your pretty bubbies play.
But, above all, let him no kiss receive,
That's an offence I never can forgive;
Do not, oh! do not that sweet mouth resign,
Lest I rise up in arms, and cry 'tis mine.
I shall thrust in betwixt, and void of fear
The manifest adult'rer will appear.
These things are plain to sight, but more I doubt
What you conceal beneath your petticoat;
Take not his leg between your tender thighs,
Nor with your hand provoke my foe to rise.
How many love inventions I deplore,
Which I myself have practis'd all before !
How oft have I been forc'd the robe to lift
In company; to make a homely shift
For a bare bout, ill huddled o'er in haste,
While o'er my side the fair her mantle cast!
You to your husband shall not be so kind,
But lest you should, your mantle leave behind.
Encourage him to tope, but kiss him not,
Nor mix one drop of water in his pot.
If he be fuddled well, and snores apace,
Then we may take advice from time and place.
When all depart, while compliments are loud,
Be sure to mix among the thickest crowd;
There I will be, and there we cannot miss,
Perhaps to grubble, or at least to kiss.
Alas, what length of labor I employ,
Just to secure a short and transient joy!
For night must part us, and when night is come
Tuck'd underneath his arm, he leads you home.
He locks you in, I follow to the door,
His fortune envy, and my own deplore;
He kisses you, he more than kisses too,
Th' outrageous cuckold thinks it all his due.
But add not to his joy by your consent,
And let it not be given, but only lent;
Return no kiss, nor move in any sort,
Make it a dull and a malignant sport.
Had I my wish he should no pleasure take,
But slubber o'er your bus'ness for my sake;
And whate'er fortune shall this night befall,
Coax me to morrow by forswearing all.

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load focus English (Christopher Marlowe)
load focus Latin (R. Ehwald, 1907)
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