Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
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T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
 
Songs from “The Tragedy of Valentinian”
By Francis Beaumont (1584–1616) and John Fletcher (1579–1625)
 
(From Act II. Scene IV.)

I.
NOW the lusty spring is seen;
  Golden yellow, gaudy blue,
Daintily invite the view.
  Every where, on every green,
Roses blushing as they blow,        5
  And enticing men to pull;
Lilies whiter than the snow,
  Woodbines of sweet honey full:
    All love’s emblems, and all cry,
    “Ladies, if not pluck’d, we die.”        10
 
Yet the lusty spring hath staid;
  Blushing red, and purest white,
  Daintily to love invite
Every woman, every maid,
Cherries kissing as they grow,        15
  And inviting men to taste;
Apples even ripe below.
  Winding gently to the waist:
    All love’s emblems, and all cry,
    “Ladies, if not pluck’d, we die.”        20
 
II.
HEAR ye, ladies that despise
  What the mighty Love has done;
Fear examples, and be wise:
  Fair Calisto was a nun;
Leda, sailing on the stream        25
  To deceive the hopes of man,
Love accounting but a dream,
  Doted on a silver swan;
Danae in a brazen tower,
  Where no love was, loved a shower.        30
 
Hear ye, ladies that are coy,
  What the mighty Love can do;
Fear the fierceness of the boy:
  The chaste moon he makes to woo;
Vesta kindling holy fires,        35
  Circled round about with spies,
Never dreaming loose desires,
  Doting at the altar dies;
    Ilion in a short hour higher
    He can build, and once more fire.        40
 
 
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