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.
 
A Song: “There was a swain full fair”
By John Gay (1685–1732)
 
(From The Wife of Bath, 1713)

THERE was a swain full fair,
  Was tripping it o’er the grass,
And there he spied, with her nut-brown hair,
  A pretty, tight country lass.
    Fair damsel, says he,        5
    With an air brisk and free,
Come let us each other know;
    She blush’d in his face,
    And replied with a grace,
Pray forbear, Sir:—no, no, no, no.        10
 
The lad being bolder grown,
  Endeavoured to steal a kiss,
She cried, pish!—let me alone,
  But held up her nose for the bliss.
    And when he begun,        15
    She would never have done,
But unto his lips she did grow,
    Near smothered to death,
    As soon as she’d breath,
She stammer’d out, no, no, no, no.        20
 
Come, come, says he, pretty maid,
  Let’s walk to yon private grove,
Cupid always delights in the cooling shade
  There, I’ll read thee a lesson of love.
    She mends her pace,        25
    And hastes to the place,
But if her love-lecture you’d know;
    Let a bashful young muse
    Plead the maiden’s excuse,
And answer you,—no, no, no, no.        30
 
 
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