Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
The Description of Women
(From The Rawlinson MS. (c. 1610–20) Poet. 216)

ALL you that lovers be,
  And like the amorous trade,
Come learn of me, what women be,
  And whereof they be made.
Their heads are made of llash, 1        5
  Their tongues are made of say,
Their love, of silken changeable,
  That lasteth but a day.
Their wit, mockador is,
  Of durance is their hate,        10
The food they feed on most is caipe,
  Their gaming is checkmate.
Of fustan their discourse
  Their zeal is made of frees,
And they that on their favour wait,        15
  Get most when most they leese.
Their glory springs from satten,
  Their vanity from feather,
Their beauty is stand further of,
  Their conscience made of leather.        20
Their humors water chamblett,
  But canvas fits them best;
Perpetuana is their folly,
  Their earnest is but jest.
Their life is love in Heues,        25
  Their doings are their pleasure;
They lawless are, yet all they wear,
  They buy standing measure.
Their eyes are made of lecke,
  Their lips of sops in wine:        30
The worst of them the elder is,
  Their longing thoughts are pine.
Their foreparts are of rue,
  Their hinder parts of docks;
Of hardest brass are their hearts,        35
  Their hands are made of box.
Their malice is of lead,
  Their avarice of money,
Their subtility of fox fur is,
  Their traffick is of coney.        40
Or if, in plainer terms,
  They would with-all be dealt,
Of beaver are their snow-white thighs,
  Their thighs are made of felt.
Note 1. ? ffash. Ms. [back]

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