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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!

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load focus English (Christopher Marlowe)
load focus Latin (R. Ehwald, 1907)
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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • John Conington, Commentary on Vergil's Aeneid, Volume 1, 2.83
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