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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.

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load focus English (Christopher Marlowe)
load focus Latin (R. Ehwald, 1907)
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    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 68b
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