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Elegy II: To his Mistress at the horse-race. By Henry Cromwell.

Not in the Circus do I sit to view
The running horses, but to gaze on you;
Near you I choose an advantageous place,
And whilst your eyes are fix'd upon the race,
Mine are on you -- Thus do we feast our sight,
Each alike pleas'd with objects of delight;
In softer whispers I my passion move,
You of the rider talk, but I of love.
When, to please you, I straight my subject quit
And change my wishes to your favourite;
Oh. might I ride, and be so much your care,
I'd start with courage from the barrier,
And with a swift short compass brush the goal --
Unless the sight of you my course restrains,
And makes my hands forego the loosen'd reins;
As Pelops gaz'd on Hippodamia's face,
Till he had almost lost th' important race;
Yet he his mistress by her favour won;
So may our prize assist us when we run.
"What mean these starts? you must not, can't remove:
This kind auspicious place was fram d for love.
I fear you're crowded,- Gentlemen, forbear,
Pray let your arms and knees the lady spare;
Madam, your gown hangs down-nay, pray let me --
Oh heav'ns ! what fine, what curious legs I see!
Sure, who Diana in a forest drew,
Copied in this the graceful'st parts from you;
Such Atalant discovering as she ran,
What rapt'rous wishes seiz'd Menalion
I burn'd and rag'd before -- what then are these,
But flames on flames, and waters to the seas?
By these a thousand other charms are guess'd,
Which are so advantageously suppress'd.
Oh for some air! this scorching heat remove,
Your fan would do't, but 'tis the heat of love."
But now the pomp appears, the sacred throng
Command applauses from the heart and tongue;
First victory with expanded wings does move,
Be near, O Goddess ! to assist my love;
To Mars let warriors acclamations raise,
The merchants' tongues resound with Neptune's praise;
Whilst I, whom neither seas nor arms invite,
In love alone, the fruit of peace, delight;
To their Apollo let the prophets pray,
And hunters to Diana homage pay.
Let the mechanics to Minerva vow,
Rustics to Ceres, and to Bacchus bow;
Whilst I devote myself to thee alone,
Kind Venus, and the pow'rful god thy son;
0 be propitious to my enterprize,
Inform with all thy softness these fair eyes,
And to love's cause her gentle breast incline;
She grants, and has contriv'd it with a sign;
Do you assure it too, you who're to me
(With Venus' leave) the mightier deity,
By all these heavenly witnesses' to you
Will I be ever faithful, ever true.
Now ib the open cirque the game's begun,
The praetor gives the signal, now they run;
I see which way your wishes are inclin'd,
To him a certain conquest is design'd;
For e'en the horses seem to know your mind.
He takes too large a compass to come in,
And lets his adversary get between;
Recall him, Romans, for a second heat,
And clear the course --
Now see your ground you better do maintain,
This lady's favour, and your fame regain;
The prize is his.-As yours successful prove,
So let my wishes, which are all for love;
I'm yet to conquer, and your heart's the prize;
Something she promis'd with her sparkling eyes,
And smil'd ;-" Enough," did I transported cry,
"The rest I leave to opportunity."

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load focus English (Christopher Marlowe)
load focus Latin (R. Ehwald, 1907)
hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (4):
    • Harper's, Cancelli
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CANCELLI
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CIRCUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SUDARIUM
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