Poem 1, in which the poet introduces his second book, is not here translated.
Poem 2, addressed to Bagoe, is not here translated.
Elegy III: To a Eunuch, who had the keeping of his mistressHow hard's my hap, to have my fair consign'd
To one, who is imperfect in his kind;
To one, who ne'er can have the pow'r to prove
As woman, or as man, the mutual joys of love!
Who practis'd first on boys the cutting steel,
Deserv'd himself the fatal wound to feel.
Couldst thou be capable of Cupid's fires,
Or the least sensible of love's desires,
Some pity thou wouldst have on me, and grant
Thy aid, for what thou canst not know I want.
Ill suits thee now, the warrior's lance to wield,
To mount the manag'd horse, or lift the brazen shield:
Arms are for men, and not for such as thee,
Who shouldst from ev'ry manly thought be free.
No banner shouldst thou, but thy lady's bear,
And have no other leader but the fair.
Much it behoves thee then to strive to gain
Her favour, and thou need'st not strive in vain.
Consult her pleasure, and her will obey,
To favour that's the sure, the ready way:
Without it, how unhappy wilt thou be!
Life is without it of no use to thee.
Thou'rt beautiful, and mayst thy prime enjoy,
And well thy beauty and thy youth employ.
Study to serve thy gentle mistress well,
And merit her good graces by thy zeal;
Watch as thou wilt, the trouble thou mayst spare,
She'll easily deceive thy utmost care.
When two fond lovers are agreed to meet,
Canst thou their well-concerted plot defeat?
The ways of kindness thou shouldst rather use;
By being civil thou wilt nothing lose;
And when an opportunity is fail,
For thy own sake be friendly to our pray'r.
A friend be to thy lady, not a guard,
And we, with bounteous hand, thy friendship will reward.
Elegy IV: That he loves all sorts of women.Vice by my verse I never will defend,
Nor by false arms to fence my own pretend.
Frankly my failings I with shame confess;
To hide my errors would not make them less.
My faults, whate'er I suffer by't, I own,
That others, if they please, those faults may shun
I hate myself, my follies, and would fain
Be, were it in my pow'r, another man.
How difficult it is, ye righteous Gods,
Against our wills to bear such heavy loads.
I have not strength to guard myself from ill,
And, as I wish, to rule my wicked will.
I'm hurry'd on, as by the boistrous sea
The driving bark is swiftly borne away.
No certain form inflames my am'rous breast,
All beauty is alike to me the best;
A hundred causes kindle my desires,
And love ne'er wants a torch to light my fires.
When on the earth the modest virgin looks,
That very modesty of hers provokes;
And if I chance to meet a forward fair,
I'm taken with her frank and easy air:
I figure to myself a thousand charms,
A thousand raptures in her wanton arms.
If, like the damsels of the Sabine race,
She's rude, I look upon it as grimace;
That sullen as she seems at first, 'tis art,
That I the more may prize the conquest or her heart.
New joys, if she's a wit, I hope to find;
And with her body, to possess her mind:
If foolish, I in that can see no harm,
And in her very folly find a charm.
I know a maid so very fond, and dull,
To me she thinks Callimachus a fool.
I soon am pleas'd with one that's pleas'd with me,
Alike we in our taste and wish agree:
But if the fair my verses don't approve,
I bragging tell her, she will like my love;
If with her tongue, or with her heel she's brisk,
Her prattle pleases, and her gamesome frisk;
But if she's heavy, I suppose at night
She'll change, and prove, as I would have her, light,
The fair that sings, enchants me with her voice;
Oh, what a gust it gives a lover's joys!
When her shrill shakes afresh his bosom wound,
And from her lips he kisses off the sound;
When her soft fingers touch the silver strings,
And sweetly to the sounding lute she sings;
Who can resist such strong redoubled charms?
Her music melts me, as her beauty warms
If in the dance the nimble nymph I find,
And view how she her pliant limbs does wind,
How artfully she to the music moves,
I cry, "How happy is the man she loves!"
My humour, in a word, is plainly this,
All objects please, and nothing comes amiss.
To love, and be belov'd my sole employ:
Dispos'd to be enjoy'd, and to enjoy.
This lady for her length I like, her spread
Will swell my arms, and fill the joyous bed;
She's like the lusty heroines of old,
And with a strong embrace her lover will enfold.
This lass, because she's little, I approve;
The least are lightest in the sports of love.
With every size my passion does agree,
And tall and short are both alike to me.
I fancy, when undress'd I find the fair,
'Tis less her want of charms, than want of care.
If with her dishabille, I cry, " I'm pleas'd,"
How beauteous would she be if she were dress'd
And when she does her best apparel wear,
I think her riches in her pride appear.
The fair, the olive, are to me the same,
Alike the swarthy, and the sandy dame.
When her black curls adown her shoulders flow,
Such Leda's were, her skin as white as snow;
And when her golden locks her head adorn,
I straight compare her to the saffron morn.
My love with no complexion disagrees,
But all alike my ready passion please.
The younger by their bloom my heart secure,
The elder win it as they're more mature;
And though the younger may excel in charms,
The elder clasp you with experienc'd arms
What all the city like, is liked by me,
And I with them and all my loves agree.
I'm proud to be the rival of the town,
And to their taste will still conform my own.
Elegy V: To His False Mistress. By Eusden.Cupid, be gone! I can for beauty sigh,
But not be forc'd to wish each hour to die;
For so I wish whene'er my restless thoughts
Dwell on her falsehoods and repeated faults.
All other plagues know sometimes to be civil,
But woman is a sure, perpetual evil.
No pimp I bribe to prove thy perjur'd vows,
Nor intercepted once thy billet-doux.
0, cou dst thou but my arguments disprove!
A cause so good is here unwish'd in love.
Happy, who dares t' avow his censur'd flame,
And vindicate the secret tripping dame.
Blushless, tho' guilty, with uplifted eyes,
"'Tis false, my life, by yon bright Heaven," she cries.
Himself he fools, and madly feeds his grief,
Who from conviction seeks the sad relief.
Wretched I saw thy wantonness unsought,
By thee in sleep secure and eyeless thought;
With glances on each other how you hung!
How ev'ry nod had more than half a tongue!
How roll'd thy glowing eyes! how lewd they spoke!
E'en from thy artful fingers language broke;
While writing on the board with pens they vied,
And the spilt wine the want of ink supplied.
The silent speech too well I understood,
For to deceive a lover yet who could?
Tho' thou didst write in a laconic hand,
And words for sentences were taught to stand.
Now ended was the treat, and ev'ry guest
Indulg'd his ease, and lay compos'd to rest:
Your close, lascivious kisses then I spied,
And something more than lips to lips applied;
Such from a sister brothers ne'er receive,
But yielding fair ones to warm lovers give.
Not so Diana would to Phoebus press,
But Cytherea so her Mars would bless.
Too far provok'd, at last I cried aloud,
"On whom are pleasures, due to me, bestow'd?
I must not, will not, cannot bear this sight;
'Tis lawful, sure, to seize upon my right.
These raptures to us both in common are,
But whence, ye furies, claims a third his share?"
Enrag'd I spoke, and o'er her cheeks were spread
Swift newborn glories in a sudden red;
Such blushes on the bridal night adorn
The trembling virgin; such the rising morn.
So sweet a hue the lab'ring Cynthia shows,
Or the fair lily damask'd by the rose;
Or iv'ry, which time's yellow taint defies,
When twice enrich'd with proud Assyrian dies:
Such were her looks, and a diviner grace
Had never brighten'd that enchanting face.
She cast her eyes down on the humble ground;
Her eyes, so cast, an unknown sweetness found.
Mournful her looks; her mournful looks became
Shining thro' grief, and beautiful in shame.
I rush'd, resolv'd her golden locks to tear,
And with mad violence disrobe the fair;
But as I viewed her face, th' extended hand
Shrunk back, nor hearken'd to the harsh command.
Others protection seek by dint of arms,
Her only safeguard was -- her wondrous charms.
I, who but late look'd insolently brave,
Fell from my height, and couch'd a suppliant slave:
I rav'd no longer at another's bliss,
But begg'd the transport of as sweet a kiss.
Smiling she said, " How grateful thy request!
If e'er my kisses please thee, take the best."
Oh, with what gust as from her soul they came!
Such might melt Jove, and stop the vengeful flame;
I fear'd my rival too enjoy'd the same.
These, better than from me she learn'd I thought,
Something taught new, alas! I wish'd untaught;
What most gave pleasure, that now stings the most;
Why were our darting tongues entirely lost?
Nor fret I thou in kissing shouldst excel,
And yet 'tis strange to know to kiss so well;
But ah! such lectures only could be read
By youthful tutors, and imbib'd abed.
That sage who'er these large improvements made,
Was by his pupil preciously repay'd.
Elegy VI: On the Death of His Mistress's Parrot. By Creech.Alas! poor Poll, my Indian talker, dies!
Go, birds, and celebrate his obsequies;
Go, birds, and beat your breasts, your faces tear,
And pluck your gaudy plumes instead of hair;
Let doleful tunes the frighted forest wound,
And your sad notes supply the trumpet's sound.
Why, Philomel, dost mourn the Thracian rage?
It is enough, thy grief at last assuage;
His crimson faults are now grown white with age.
Now mourn this bird; the cause of all thy woe
Was great, 'tis true, but it was long ago.
Mourn, all ye wing'd inhabitants of air,
But you, my turtle, take the greatest share;
You too liv'd constant friends and free from strife
Your kindness was entire, and long as life:
What Pylades to his Orestes vow'd.
To thee, poor Poll, thy friendly turtle show'd,
And kept his love as long as fate allow'd.
But, ah! what did thy faith, thy plumes, and tail,
And what thy pretty speaking art, avail?
And what that thou wert giv'n, and pleas'd my miss,
Since now the bird's unhappy glory dies ?
A lovely verdant green grac'd ev'ry quill,
The deepest vivid red did paint thy bill;
In speaking thou didst ev'ry bird excel,
None prattled, and none lisp'd the words so well.
'Twas envy only sent this fierce disease;
Thou wert averse to war, and liv'dst in peace,
A talking harmless thing, and lov'dst thine ease.
The fighting quails still live 'midst all their strife,
And even that, perhaps, prolongs their life.
Thy meat was little, and thy prattling tongue
Would ne'er permit to make thy dinner long:
Plain fountain water all thy drink allow'd,
And nut and poppy-seed were all thy food.
The preying vultures and the kites remain,
And the unlucky crow still caws for rain;
The chough still lives 'midst fierce Minerva's hate,
And scarce nine hundred years conclude her fate;
But my poor Poll now hangs his sickly head,
My Poll, my present from the east, is dead.
Best things are sooner snatch'd by cov'tous fate,
To worse she freely gives a longer date;
Thersites brave Achilles' fate surviv'd,
And Hector fell, whilst all his brothers liv'd.
Why should I tell what vows Corinna made?
How oft she begg'd thy life, how oft she pray'd ?
The seventh day came, and now the Fates begin
To end the thread, they had no more to spin;
Yet still he talk'd, and when death nearer drew,
His last breath said, "Corinna, now adieu!"
There is a shady cypress grove below,
And thither (if such doubtful things we know)
The ghosts of pious birds departed go;
'Tis water'd well, and verdant all the year,
And birds obscene do never enter there;
There harmless swans securely take their rest,
And there the single Phoenix builds her nest;
Proud peacocks there display their gaudy train,
And billing turtles coo o'er all the plain:
To these dark shades my parrot's soul shall go,
And with his talk divert the birds below;
Whilst here his bones enjoy a noble grave,
A little marble, and an epitaph:-
"In talking I did ev'ry bird excel,
And my tomb proves my mistress lov'd me well."
Elegy VII: He protests that he never had anything to do with the chambermaid. By the same hand.And must I still be guilty, still untrue,
And when old crimes are purg'd, still charg'd with new?
What tho' at last my cause I clearly gain?
Yet I'm asham'd so oft to strive in vain,
And when the prize will scarce reward the pain.
If at the play I in fop-corner sit,
And with a squinting eye gloat o'er the pit,
Or view the boxes, you begin to fear,
And fancy straight some rival beauty there.
If any looks on me, you think you spy
A private assignation in her eye;
A silent soft discourse in ev'ry grace,
And tongues in all the features of her face.
If I praise any one, you tear your hair,
Show frantic tricks, and rage with wild despair;
If discommend, 0 then 'tis all deceit,
I strive to cloak my passion by the cheat.
If I look well, I then neglect your charms,
Lie dull and lazy in your active arms;
If weak my voice, if pale my looks appear,
0 then I languish for another fair.
Would I did sin, and you with cause complain,
For when we strive to shun, yet strive in vain,
'Tis comfort sure to have deserv'd the pain.
But sure fond fancies now such heats engage,
Your cred'lous peevish humour spoils your rage.
In frequent chidings I no force can see,
You frown too often to prevail with me;
The ass grows dull by stripes; the constant blow
Beats off his briskness, and he moves but slow.
But now I'm lavish of my kind embrace,
And Moll, forsooth, supplies her lady's place!
Kind love, forbid that I should stoop so low;
What! unto mean, ignoble beauties bow ?
A chambermaid ! no faith, my love flies high;
My quarry is a miss of quality.
Fye, who would clasp a slave ? who joy to feel
Her hands of iron and her sides of steel ?
'Twill damp an eager thought, 'twill check my mind,
To feel those knobs the lash hath left behind.
Besides, she dresses well, with lovely grace
She sets thy tow'r, and does adorn thy face;
Thy nat'ral beauty all her hearts improve,
And make me more enamour'd of my love.
Then why should I tempt her, and why betray
Thy useful slave, and have her turn'd away?
I swear by Venus, by love's darts and bow,
(A desp'rate oath, you must believe me now,)
I am not guilty, I've not broke my vow!
Elegy VIII: To Corinna's Chambermaid. By the same hand.Dear, skilful Betty, who dost far excel
My lady's other maids in dressing well;
Dear Betty, fit to be preferred above
To Juno's chamber, or the queen of love;
Genteel, well-bred, not rustically coy,
Not easy to deny desired joy;
Thro' whose soft eyes still secret wishes shine,
Fit for thy mistress' use, but more for mine;
Who, Betty, did the fatal secret see?
Who told Corinna you were kind to me!
Yet when she chid me for my kind embrace,
Did any guilty blush spread o'er my face!
Did I betray thee, maid, or could she spy
The least confession in my conscious eye !
Not that I think it a disgrace to prove
Stol'n sweets, or make a chambermaid my love;
Achilles wanton'd in Briseis' arms,
Atrides bow'd to fair Cassandra's charms:
Sure I am less than these,-then what can bring
Disgrace to me, that so became a king !
But when she look'd on you, poor harmless maid,
You blush'd, and all the kind intrigue betray'd;
Yet still I vow'd, I made a stout defence,
I swore, and look'd as bold as innocence;
"Damme, -- egad!" all that, and -- "let me die!"'
Kind Venus, do not hear my perjury;
Kind Venus, stop thy ears when lovers lie.
Now, Betty, how will you my oaths requite?
Come, pr'ythee let's compound for more delight;
Faith, I am easy, and but ask a night.
What! start at the proposal? how! deny
Pretend fond fears of a discovery ?
Refuse, lest some sad chance the thing betray ?
Is this your kind, your damn'd obliging way ?
Well, deny on; I'll lie, I'll swear no more;
Corinna now shall know thou art a whore.
I'll tell, since you my fair address forbid,
How often, when, and where, and what we did!
Elegy IX: To Love. By the Earl of Rochester.O Love! how cold and slow to take my part,
Thou idle wanderer about my heart!
Why thy old faithful soldier wilt thou see
Oppress'd in thy own tents? they murder me;
Thy flames consume, thy arrows pierce thy friends;
Rather on foes pursue more noble ends.
Achilles' sword would certainly bestow
A cure as certain as it gave the blow.
Hunters, who follow flying game, give o'er
When the prey's caught, hope still leads on before;
We, thine own slaves, feel thy tyrannic blows.
While thy tame hand's unmov'd against thy foes.
On men disarm'd, how can you gallant prove ?
And I was long ago disarm'd by love.
Millions of dull men live, and scornful maids;
We'll own love valiant when he these invades.
Rome from each corner of the wide world snatch'd
A laurel, or't had been to this day thatch'd;
But the old soldier has his resting-place,
And the good batter'd horse is turn'd to grass:
The harass'd whore, who liv'd a wretch to please,
Has leave to be a bawd, and take her ease.
For me then, who have truly spent my blood,
Love, in thy service, and so boldly stood
In Celia's trenches, were't not wisely done,
E'en to retire, and live at peace at home ?
No-might I gain a godhead to disclaim
My glorious title to my endless flame,
Divinity with scorn I would forswear,
Such sweet, dear, tempting devils women are.
Whene'er those flames grow faint, I quickly find
A fierce black storm pour down upon my mind;
Headlong I'm hurl'd like horsemen who in vain
Their fury-flaming coursers would restrain.
As ships, just when the harbour they attain,
Are snatch'd by sudden blasts to sea again,
So Love's fantastic storms reduce my heart,
Half rescu'd, and the god resumes his dart.
Strike here, this undefended bosom wound,
And for so brave a conquest be renown'd.
Shafts fly so fast to me from ev'ry part,
You'll scarce discern the quiver from my heart.
What wretch can bear a livelong night's dull rest,
Or think himself in lazy slumbers blest?
Fool-is not sleep the image of pale death?
There's time for rest when fate has stopp'd your breath.
Me may my soft deluding dear deceive,
I'm happy in my hopes, while I believe:
Now let her flatter, then as fondly chide,
Often may I enjoy, oft be denied.
With doubtful steps the god of war does move,
By thy example, in ambiguous love.
Blown to and fro, like down from thy own wing,
Who knows when joy or anguish thou wilt bring?
Yet at thy mother's and thy slave's request,
Fix an eternal empire in my breast;
And let th' inconstant charming sex,
Whose wilful scorn does lovers vex,
Submit their hearts before thy throne;
The vassal world is then thy own.
Elegy X: Ovid tells Graecinus, that he is fallen in love with a couple of ladies. By an unknown hand.What you affirm'd, my friend, is prov'd untrue,
That none at once could madly dote on two.
Deceiv'd, unarm'd, we Cupid soon o'ercame,
And I glow shameless with a double flame.
They both are fair, both dress'd so nicely well,
That the pre-eminence is hard to tell.
Sometimes for this, sometimes for that I burn,
And each more beauteous sparkles in her turn.
Each claims my passion, and my heart divides
As to and fro the doubtful galliot rides.
Here driven by winds, and there redriven by tides.
Why doubly chain'd ? was not a single fair
Enough to load me with perpetual care?
Why are more leaves brought to the shady wood,
Stars to the sky, or waters to the flood ?
Yet better so than not to love at all;
Still on my foes may such dull blessings fall.
May they, insipidly supine, be spread
Along the middle of a widowed bed;
While I with sprightliness love's vigil's keep,
Stretch'd out for something far more sweet than sleep.
Others from ruin fly, to mine I run,
To be by women pleasingly undone,
Longing for two, since undestroy'd by one.
Still let my slender limbs for love suffice;
I want no nerves, but want the bulky size.
My limbs, tho' lean are not in vain display'd;
From me no female ever rose a maid.
Oft have I, when a luscious night was spent,
Saluted morn, nor cloy'd nor impotent.
Happy, who gasps in love his latest breath;
Give me, ye gods, so softly sweet a death !
Let the rough warriors grapple on the plain,
And with their blood immortal honour gain;
Let the vile miser plough for wealth the deep,
And, shipwrek'd in the unfatbom'd waters, sleep
May Venus grant me but my last desire,
In the full height of rapture to expire.
Perhaps some friend, with kindly dew supplied,
Weeping will say, "As Ovid liv'd, he died."
Poem 11, in which the poet prays that his Mistress will be safe as she travels by sea, is not here translated.
Elegy XII: The Poet rejoices for the favours he has received of his mistress.Io Triumphe! I have won the prize,
For in my arms the fair Corinna lies.
Nor jealous husband, nor a guardian's care,
Nor door defended with a double bar,
Could fence against a lover's artifice,
For in my arms the fair Corinna lies.
With reason of my victory I boast,
The conquest gain'd, and yet no blood is lost;
I scal'd no walls, I pass'd no ditch profound,
Safe were my wars, and all without a wound.
My only work a charming girl to gain;
The pleasure well rewards the little pain.
Ten years the Greeks did in one siege employ,
But levell'd were, at length, the walls of Troy;
What glory was there by th' Atrides won,
So many chiefs before a single town!
Not thus did I my pleasant toils pursue,
And the whole glory to myself is due;
Myself was horse and foot, myself alone
The captain and the soldier was in one,
And fought beneath no banner but my own.
Whether by strength I combated, or wile,
Fortune did ever on my actions smile;
I only owe my triumph to my care,
And by my patience only won the fair.
Nor was my cause of quarrel new; the same
Set Europe and proud Asia in a flame.
For Helen, ravish'd by the Dardan boy,
Was the war wag'd that sunk the pride of Troy;
The Centaurs double form'd, half man, half beast,
Defil'd with horrid war the nuptial feast;
Inflam'd by wine and woman's magic charms,
They turn'd the jolly face of joy to arms.
'Twas woman urg'd the strife; a second fair
Involv'd the Trojans in a second war.
What wreck, what ruin, did a Woman bring
On peaceful Latium, and its pious king!
When Rome was young and in her infant state
What woes did woman to our sires create!
Into what peril was that city brought,
When Sabine fathers for their daughters fought !
Two lusty bulls I in the meads have view'd
In combat join'd, and by their side there stood
A milk-white heifer, who provok'd the fight,
By each contended, but the conqueror's right;
She gives them courage, her they both regard,
As one that caus'd the war, and must reward.
Compell'd by Cupid in his host to list
(And who that has a heart can love resist ?)
His soldier I have been, without the guilt
Of blood, in any of our battles spilt;
For him I've fought, as many more have done,
And many rivals met, but murder'd none.
Elegy XIII: To Isis. A prayer that the goddess would assist Corinna, and prevent her miscarrying.With cruel art Corinna would destroy
The ripening fruit of our repeated joy.
While on herself she practises her skill,
She's like the mother, not the child, to kill.
Me she would not acquaint with what she did,
From me a thing, which I abhorr'd, she hid;
Well might I now be angry, but I fear,
Ill as she is, I might endanger her.
By me, I must confess, she did conceive,
The fact is so, or else I so believe;
We've cause to think, what may so likely be,
So is, and then the babe belongs to me
Oh Isis, who delight'st to haunt the fields,
Where fruitful Nile his golden harvest yields,
Where with seven mouths into the sea it falls,
And hast thy walks around Canope's walls,
Who Memphis visit'st, and the Pharian tower,
Assist Corinna with thy friendly powers.
Thee by thy silver Sistra I conjure,
A life so precious by thy aid secure;
So mayst thou with Osiris still find grace:
By Anubis's venerable face,
I pray thee, so may still thy rights divine
Flourish, and serpents round thy offerings twine
May Apis with his horns the pomp attend,
And be to thee, as thou'rt to her, a friend.
Look down, oh Isis! on the teeming fair,
And make at once her life and mine thy care:
Have pity on her pains; the help you give
To her, her lover saves, in her I live.
From thee this favour she deserves; she pays
Her vows to thee on all thy solemn days;
And when the Galli at thy altars wait,
She's present at the feast they celebrate.
And thou, Lucina, who the labouring womb
Dost with compassion view, to her assistance come:
Nor dost thou, when to thee thy votaries pray
For speedy help, thy wanted help delay.
Lucina, listen to Corinna's pray'r;
Thy votary she, and worthy of thy care.
I'll with my off'rings to thy altar come,
With votive myrrh thy sacred fane perfume;
The vows I make that thou my fair mayst bless,
In words inscrib'd, I'll on thy shrine express:-
"Ovid, the servant of Corinna, pray'd
The goddess here, the teeming dame to aid."
Ah, goddess! of my humble suit allow;
Give place to my inscription and my vow.
If frighted as I am, I may presume
Your conduct to direct in time to come,
Corinna, since you've suffer'd thus before,
Ah, try the bold experiment no more!
Elegy XIV: To his Mistress, who endeavoured to make herself miscarry.What boots it that the fair are free from war,
And what that they're forbid the shield to bear,
Against themselves if they knew arms employ
And madly with new wounds their lives destroy?
The cruel mother who did first contrive
Her babe to butcher ere 'twas scarce alive,
Who thus from nature's tender dictates swerv'd,
To perish by her proper hands deserv'd.
Why do the sex forget their softness? why
Such projects for a foolish fancy try?
The belly must be smooth, no wrinkle there
To shock the lover's wanton glance appear;
His touch as well as sight they fain would please,
And the womb early of its burden ease.
Had woman sooner known this wicked trade,
Among the race of men what havock had they made.
Mankind had been extinct, and lost the seed,
Without a wonder to restore the breed,
As when Deucalion and his Purrha hurl'd
The stones that sow'd with men the delug'd world,
Had Thetis, goddess of the sea, refus'd
To bear the burden, and her fruit abus'd,
Who would have Priam's royal seat destroy'd?
Or had the vestal whom fierce Mars enjoy'd,
Stifled the twins within her pergnant womb,
What founder would have then been born to Rome?
Had Venus, when she with Aeneas teem'd,
To death, ere born, Anchises' son condemn'd,
The world had of the Caesars been depriv'd;
Augustus ne'er had reign'd, nor Julius liv'd.
And thou, whose beauty is the boast of fame,
Hadst perish'd, had thy mother done the same;
Nor had I liv'd love's faithful slave to be,
Had my own mother dealt as ill by me.
Ah, vile invention, ah, accurs'd design,
To rob of rip'ning fruit the loaded vine
Ah, let it grow for nature's use mature,
Ah, let it its full length of time endure;
'Twill of itself, alas! too soon decay,
And quickly fall, like autumn leaves, away
Why barb'rously dost thou thy bowels tear
To kill the human load that quickens there?
On venom'd drugs why venture, to destroy
The pledge of pleasure past, the promis'd boy?
Medea, guilty of her childrens' blood,
The mark of ev'ry age's curse has stood;
And Atys, murder'd by his mothers rage,
Been pitied since by each succeeding age;
Thy cruel parents by false lords abus'd,
Had yet some plea, tho' none their crime excus'd.
What, Jason, did your dire revenge provoke?
What, Tereus, urge you to the fatal stroke?
What rage your reason led so far away,
As furious hands upon yourself to lay?
The tigresses that haunt th' Armenian wood,
Will spare their proper young, though pinch'd for food;
Nor will the Libyan lionesses slay
Their whelps, -- but woman are more fierce than they;
More barb'rous to the tender fruit they bear,
Nor nature's call, tho' loud she cries, will hear.
But righteous vengeance oft their crimes pursues,
And they are lost themselves, who would their
The pois'nous drugs with mortal juices fill
Their veins, and, undesign'd, themselves they kill
Themselves upon the bier are breathless borne,
With hair tied up that was in ringlets worn,
Thro' weeping crowds that on their course attend;
Well may they weep for their unhappy end.
Forbid it, heaven, that what I say may prove
Presaging to the fair I blame and love;
Thus let me ne'er, ye pow'rs, her death deplore,
'Twas her first fault, and she'll offend no more;
No pardon she'll deserve a second time,
But, without mercy, punish then her crime.
Elegy XV: The Poet addresses the ring which he has sent a present to his mistress. By an unknown hand.Go, happy ring, who art about to bind
The fair one's finger; may the fair be kind.
Small is the present, tho' the love be great;
May she swift slip thee on thy taper seat.
As she and I, may thou with her agree,
And not too large, nor yet too little be.
To touch her hand thou wilt the pleasure have;
I now must envy what myself I gave.
O! would a Proteus or a Circe change
Me to thy form, that I like thee might range !
Then would I wish thee with her breasts to play,
And her left hand beneath her robes to stray.
Tho' straight she thought me, I will then appear
Loose and unfix'd, and slip I know not where.
Whene'er she writes some secret lines of love,
Lest the dry gum and wax should sticking prove,
He first she moistens : then sly care I take,
And but, when lines I like, impression make.
Of in her pocket fain she would me hide,
Close will I press her finger, and not slide;
Then cry, "My life, I ne'er shall thee disgrace,
And I am light; give me my proper place.
Still let me stick when in the bath you are;
If I catch damage,'tis not worth your care.
Yea, when the ring thy naked body spies,
It will transform, and I a man arise."
Why do I rave? thou little trifle, go,
And that I die for her let the dear creature know.
Elegy XVI: He invites his mistress into the country.I'm now at -- where my eyes can view,
Their old delights, but what I want in you:
Here purling streams cut thro' my pleasing bowr's,
Adorn my banks, and raise my drooping flow'rs;
Here trees with bending fruit in order stand,
Invite my eye, and tempt my greedy hand;
But half the pleasure of enjoyment's gone;
Since I must pluck them single and alone;
Why could not nature's kindness first contrive,
That faithful lovers should like spirits live,
Mix'd in one point and yet divided lie,
Enjoying an united liberty?
But since we must thro' distant regions go,
Why was not the same way design'd for two?
One single care determined still for both,
And the kind virgin join'd the loving youth?
Then should I think it pleasant way to go
Oe'r Alpine frost, and trace the hills of snow;
Then should I dare to view the horrid moors,
And walk the deserts of the Libyan shores;
Hear Scylla bark, and see Charybdis rave,
Suck in and vomit out the threat'ning wave;
Fearless through all I'd steer my feeble barge,
Secure, and safe with the celestial charge,
But now, though here my grateful fields afford
Choice fruits to cheer their malancholy lord;
Though here obedient streams the gard'ner leads,
In narrow channels through my flow'ry beds;
The poplars rise, and spread a shady grove,
Where I might lie, my little life improve,
And spend my minutes 'twixt a muse and love:
Yet these contributes little to my ease,
For without you they lose the power to please;
I seem to walk oe'r the fields of naked sand,
Or tread an antic maze in fairy land,
Where frightful specires, and pale shades appear,
And hollow groans invade my troubled ear;
Where ev'ry breeze that through my arbour flies,
First sadly murmurs, and then turns to sighs.
The vines love elms; what elms from vines remove?
Then why should I be parted from my love?
And yet by me you once devoutly swore,
By your own eyes, those stars that I adore,
That all my bus'ness you would make your own,
And never suffer me to be alone:
But faithless woman nat'rally deceives,
Their frequent oaths are like the falling leaves,
Which when a storm has from the branches tore
Are lost by ev'ry blast, and seen no more:
Yet if you will be true, your vows retrieve,
Be kind, and I can easily forgive ;
Prepare your coach, to me direct your course,
Drive fiercely on, and lash the lazy horse;
And while you ride I will prolong the day,
And try the power of verse to smooth your way.
Sink down ye mountains, sink ye lofty hills,
Ye vallies be obedient to her wheels,
Ye streams be dry, ye hindr'ing woods remove,
'Tis love that drives, and all must yield to love !
Elegy XVII: He tells Corinna he will always be her slaveIf there's a wretch, who thinks it is a shame,
To serve a lovely and a loving dame:
If such a slave he loads with infamy,
I'm willing he should judge as hard of me;
I'm willing all the world should know my shame
If Venus will abate my raging flame.
Let me a fair and gentle mistress have,
And then proclaim aloud that I'm her slave.
Beauty is apt to swell a maiden's mind,
And thus Corinna is to pride inclin'd:
But as she is above all maiden's fair,
What's pride in them is insolence in her;
Less fair I wish she was, or knew it less;
How learnt she, she is lovely by her face!
Her mirror tells her so, she often tries
Her mirror, and believes her charming eyes.
The looks she then puts on, are still her best,
And she ne'er uses it but when she's dress'd.
Though wide the empire of your beauties spread,
Beauty to draw my am'rous glances made:
Compare your servant's merit with your eyes,
You'll find no cause his service to dispise.
Don't think I press upon your pride too hard.
For little things may be with great compar'd:
We're told Calypso, an immortal pow'r,
Detain'd a mortal in th' Ogygian pow'r,
And when her pray'r to stay he would not grant,
So strong her love, she kept him by constraint.
A Nereid took the Pythian to her arms.
And Numa knew divine Egeria's charms.
Vulcan though lame, and of a form obscene,
Was oft made happy by the Paphian queen;
She matter'd not his limping, but approv'd
His flame, and saw no faults in him she lov'd
My verses are unequal like his feet,
Yet the long kindly with the shorter meet.
As they with them, why shouldst thou not with me
Comply, my life and my divinity !
Myself, when I am in thy arms, I'll own
Thy subject, and the bed shall be thy throne;
Thou there, my lovely queen, shall give me laws,
Nor in my absence, to rejoice have cause,
Nor ever shall my services be blam'd
Nor shalt thou of thy servant be asham'd.
My poetry's my purse, my fortun's there,
I have no other way to win the fair;
Nor is that way the worst; the brightest dames
Would in my verse immortalize their names.
My muse the place of an estate supplies,
And none that know her worth, her wealth despise.
Some tempted by Corinna's spreading fame,
In envy rob her, and usurp her name;
What would they give, d'ye think, to be the same ?
But neither could Eurotas, nor the Po,
With poplar shaded, in one channel flew;
By diff'rent, and by distant banks they glide,
Are rivers both, but various in their tide.
There are more beauties, but there's none like thine,
There are more versed, but thou hast only mine;
No other charms can e'er inspire my muse,
And other themes I with disdain refuse.
Elegy XVIII: To Macer, blaming him for not writing of love as he did.While, Macer, you Achilles' choler sing,
And Greece before the walls of Ilium bring;
While feats of arms in Phrygian fields you tell,
And how old Tory by Grecion vengeance fell;
I my soft hours in softer songs employ,
And all my leisure give to love and joy.
When to high acts, my voice I strive to raise,
Love laughs at my attempt, and mocks my lays;
"Begone!" I often to my mistress cry,
But have not courage, yet, myself to fly.
Whene'er she sees me in this sullen fit,
She fondles me, and, on my knee will sit:
"Enough of this (say I), for shame give o'er,
Enough of love, we'll play the fool no more."
" Ah, is it then a shame to love?" she cries,
And chides, and melts me with her weeping eyes.
Around my neck her snowy arms she throws,
And to my lips with stifling kisses grows.
How can I all this tenderness refuse ?
At once my wisdom, and my will I lose;
I'm conquer'd, and renounce the glorious train
Of arms, and war, to sing of love again:
My themes are acts, which I myself have done,
And my muse sings no battles but my own.
Once I confess I did the drama try,
And ventur'd with success on tragedy;
My genius with a moving scene agrees,
And if I ventured further I might please:
But love my heroics makes a jest,
And laughs to see me in my buskins drest.
Asham'd, and weary of this tragic whim,
For tender thoughts I quitted the sublime.
My mind my mistress bends another way,
Her must my muse in all her songs obey;
Though oft I do not what I write approve,
Like, or not like it, I must sing of love.
Whether for Ithaca's illustrious dame,
To great Ulysses I a letter frame,
Or for Oenone tender things indite,
Or soft complaints for injur'd Phillis write;
Whether fair Canace's incestuous care
I sooth, or flatter Dido's fierce despair;
Whether I fan Medea's raging fire,
Or for sweet Sappho touch the Lesbian lyre;
Whether I Phaedra's lawless love relate,
Or Theseus' flight and Ariadne's fate:
Oh, that Sabinus, my departed friend,
Could from all quarters now his answers send!
Ulysses' hand should to his queen be known,
And wretched Phaedra hear from Theseus' son;
Dido Aeneas' answer should receive,
And Phillis Demophoon's, if alive;
Jason should to Hypsipyle return
A sad reply, and Sappho cease to mourn:
Nor him whom she can ne'er possess, desire,
But give to Phoebus fane her votive lyre.
As much as you in lofty epics deal,
You, Macer, show that you love's passion feel,
And sensible of beauty's powerful charm,
You hear their call amid the noise of arms.
A place for Paris in your verse we find,
And Helen's to the young adult'rer kind;
There lovely Laodamia mourns her lord,
The first that fell by Hector's fatal sword.
If well I know you, and your mind can tell,
The theme's as grateful, and you like as well
To tune your lyre for Cupid as for Mars,
And Thracian combats change for Paphian wars;
If well I know you, and your works design
Your will, you often quit your camp for mine.
Elegy XIX: By Dryden.If for thyself thou wilt not watch thy whore,
Watch her for me that I may love her more.
What comes with ease we nauseously receive,
Who but a sot would scorn to love with leave?
With hopes and fears my flames are blown up higher;
Make me despair, and then I can desire.
Give me a jilt to tease my jealous mind;
Deceits are virtues in the female kind.
Corinna my fantastic humour knew,
Play'd trick for trick, and kept herself still new;
She, that next night I might the sharper come,
Fell out with me, and sent me fasting home.
Or some pretence to lie alone would take ;
Whene'er she pleas'd her head and teeth would ache:
Till having won me to the highest strain,
She took occasion to be sweet again.
With what a gust, ye gods, we then embrac'd!
How ev'ry kiss was dearer than the last!
Thou whom I now adore, be edified,
Take care that I may often be denied;
Forget the promis'd hour, or feign some fright,
Make me lie rough on bulks each other night.
These are the arts that best secure thy reign,
And this the food that must my fires maintain.
Gross easy love does, like gross diet, pall;
In squeasy stomachs honey turns to gall.
Had Danae not been kept in brazen tow'rs,
Jove had not thought her worth his golden show'rs:
When Juno to a cow turn'd Io's shape,
The watchman help'd her to a second leap.
Let him who loves an easy whetstone whore,
Pluck leaves from trees, and drink the common shore.
The jilting harlot strikes the surest blow,
A truth which I by sad experience know;
The kind, poor, constant creature we despise,
Man but pursues the quarry while it flies.
But thou dull husband of a wife too fair,
Stand on thy guard, and watch the precious ware;
If creaking doors, or barking dogs, thou hear,
Or windows scratch'd, suspect a rival there.
An orange wench would tempt thy wife abroad;
Kick her, for she's a letter-bearing bawd.
In short, be jealous as the devil in hell,
And set my wit on work to cheat thee well.
The sneaking city-cuckold is my foe;
I scorn to strike but when he wards the blow.
Look to thy hits and leave off thy conniving,
I'll be no drudge to any wittol living;
I have been patient, and forborne thee long,
In hope thou wouldst not pocket up thy wrong:
If no affront can rouse thee, understand
I'll take no more indulgence at thy hand.
What, ne'er to be forbid thy house and wife
Damn him who loves to lead so ill a life.
Now I can neither sigh, nor whine, nor pray;
All those occasions thou hast ta'en away.
Why art thou so incorrigibly civil ?
Do somewhat I may wish thee at the devil
For shame, be no accomplice in my treason;
A pimping husband is too much in reason.
Once more wear horns, before I quite forsake her
In hopes whereof, I rest thy cuckold-maker.