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.
 
Epilogue
By William Wycherley (1640–1716)
 
(From The Country Wife)

NOW you the vigorous, who daily here
O’er vizard-mask in public domineer,
And what you’d do to her, if in place where:
Nay, have the confidence to cry, Come out!
Yet when she says, Lead on! you are not stout;        5
But to your well-dress’d brother straight turn round,
And cry, Pox on her, Ned, she can’t be sound!
Then slink away, a fresh one to engage,
With so much seeming heat and loving rage,
You’d frighten list’ning actress on the stage;        10
Till she at last has seen you huffing come,
And talk of keeping in the tiring-room,
Yet cannot be provoked to lead her home.
Next, you Falstaffs of fifty, who beset
Your buckram maidenheads, which your friends get;        15
And whilst to them you of achievements boast,
They share the booty, and laugh at your cost.
In fine, you essenced boys, both old and young,
Who would be thought so eager, brisk, and strong,
Yet do the ladies, not their husbands wrong;        20
Whose purses for your manhood make excuse,
And keep your Flanders’ mares for show, not use;
Encouraged by our woman’s man to-day,
A Horner’s part may vainly think to play;
And may intrigues so bashfully disown,        25
That they may doubted be by few or none;
May kiss the cards at picquet, ombre——lu,
And so be taught to kiss the lady too;
But, gallants, have a care, faith, what you do.
The world, which to no man his due will give,        30
You by experience know you can deceive,
And men may still believe you vigorous,
But then we women—there’s no coz’ning us.
 
 
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