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Like twilight glimpse at setting of the sun
Or night being past, and yet not day begun ;
Such light to shamefaced maidens must be shown
Where they may sport, and seem to be unknown :
Then came Corinna in a long loose gown,
Her white neck hid with tresses hanging down,
Resembling fair Semiramis going to bed,
Or Lais of a thousand wooers spread.
I snatch'd her gown being thin, the harm was small,
Yet striv'd she to be covered therewithal,
And striving thus as one that would be cast,
Betrayed herself, and yielded at the last.
Stark naked as she stood before mine eye,
Not one wen in her body could I spy.
What arms and shoulders did I touch and see,
How apt her breasts were to be press'd by me.
How smooth a belly under her waist saw 1,
How large a leg, and what a lusty thigh.
To leave the rest, all lik'd me passing well;
I cling'd her fair naked body, down she fell :
Judge you the rest, being tired she bade me kiss;
Jove send me more such afternoons as this!
Ad Janitorem, ut fores sibi aperiat.
UNWORTHY porter, bound in chains fullsore,
On moved hooks set ope the churlish door.
Little I ask, a little entrance make,
The gate half ope my bent side in will take.
Long love my body to such use makes slender,
And to get out doth like apt members render.
He shews me how unheard to pass the watch,
And guides my feet lest stumbling falls they catch:
But in times past I fear'd vain shades, and night,
Wondering if any walked without light.
Love hearing it laugh'd with his tender mother,
And smiling said, be thou as bold as other.
Forthwith love came, no dark night-flying spright,
Nor hands prepar'd to slaughter, me affright.
Thee fear I too much only thee I flatter,
Thy lightning can my life in pieces batter.
Why enviest me? this hostile door unbar,
See how the gates with my tears wat'red are.
When thou stood'st naked ready to be beat,
For thee I did thy mistress fair intreat.
But what entreats for thee sometimes took place,
(O mischief!) now for me obtain small grace.
Grateful thou mayest be free give like for like;
Night goes away: the door's bar backward strike.
Strike, so again hard chains shall bind thee never,
Nor servile water shalt thou drink for ever.
Hard-hearted Porter doest and wilt not hear,
With stiff oak propp'd the gate doth still appear.
Such rampier'd gates besieged cities aid,
In midst of peace why art of arms afraid?
Exclud'st a lover, how would'st use a foe?
Strike back the bar, night fast away doth go.
With arms or armed men I come not guarded,
I am alone, were furious love discarded.
Although I would, I cannot him cashier,
Before I be divided from my geer.
See Love with me, wine moderate in my brain,
And on my hairs a crown of flowers remain.
Who fears these arms? who will not go to meet them?
Night runs away, with open entrance greet them?
Art careless? or is't sleep forbids thee hear,
Giving the winds my words running in thine ear.
Well I remember when I first did hire thee,
Watching till after mid-night did not tire thee.
But now perchance thy wench with thee doth rest,
Ah how thy lot is above my lot blest :
Though it be so, shut me not out therefore,
Night goes away: I pray thee ope the door.
Err we? or do the turned hinges sound,
And opening doors with creaking noise abound?
We err: a strong blast seem'd the gates to ope:
Ah me how high that gale did lift my hope!
If Boreas bears Orithia's rape in mind,
Come break these deaf doors with thy boisterous wind.
Silent the city is: night's dewy host,
March fast away: the bar strike from the post.
Or I more stern than fire or sword will turn,
And with my brand these gorgeous houses burn.
Night, love, and wine to all extremes persuade :
Night, shameless wine, and love are fearless made.
All have I spent: no threats or prayers move thee,
O harder than the doors thou guardest I prove thee!
No pretty wenches' keeper may'st thou be,
The careful prison is more meet for thee.
Now frosty night her flight begins to take,
And crowing cocks poor souls to work awake.
But thou my crown from sad hairs ta'en away,
On this hard threshold till the morning lay.
That when my mistress there beholds thee cast,
She may perceive how we the time did waste.
Whate'er thou art, farewell, be like me pain'd!
Careless farewell, with my fault not distain'd!
And farewell cruel posts, rough thresholds block,
And doors conjoin'd with an hard iron lock!
Ad pacandam amicam, quam verberaverat.
BIND fast my hands, they have deserved chains,
While rage is absent, take some friend the pains.
For rage against my wench mov'd my rash arm,
My mistress weeps whom my mad hand did harm.
I might have then my parents dear misus'd,
Or holy gods with cruel strokes abus'd.
Why? Ajax master of the seven-fold shield,
Butcher'd the flocks he found in spacious field.
And he who on his mother veng'd his ire,
Against the destinies durst sharp darts require.
Could I therefore her comely tresses tear?
Yet was she graced with her ruffled hair.
So fair she was, Atalanta she resembled,
Before whose bow th' Arcadian wild beasts trembled.
Such Ariadne was, when she bewails,
Her perjur'd Theseus' flying vows and sails.
So, chaste Minerva! did Cassandra fall,
Deflower'd except, within thy temple wall.
That I was mad, and barbarous all men cried,
She nothing said, pale fear her tongue had tied.
But secretly her looks with checks did trounce me,
Her tears, she silent, guilty did pronounce me.
Would of mine arms, my shoulders had been scanted:
Better I could part of myself have wanted.
To mine own-self have I had strength so furious? ›
And to myself could I be so injurious?
Slaughter and mischief's instruments, no better,
Deserved chains these cursed hands shall fetter.
Punish'd I am, if I a Roman beat;
Over my mistress is my right more great?
Tydides left worst signs of villany,
He first a goddess struck; another I.
Yet he harm'd less; whom I profess'd to love,
I harm'd a foe did Diomedes' anger move.
Go now thou conqueror, glorious triumphs raise,
Pay vows to Jove; engirt thy hairs with bays.
And let the troops which shall thy chariot follow,
Io, a strong man conquer'd this wench, hollow.
Let the sad captive foremost, with locks spread
On her white neck but for hurt cheeks, be led.
Meter it were her lips were blue with kissing,
And on her neck a wanton mark not missing.
But though I like a swelling flood was driven,
And as a prey unto blind anger given.
Was't not enough the fearful wench to chide?
Nor thunder, in rough threatnings, haughty pride?
Nor shamefully her coat pull over her crown,
Which to her waist her girdle still kept down?