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!