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 Forsaken Mistress
By Sir George Etherege (1635?–1691)
A Dialogue between Phyllis and Strephon

TELL me, gentle Strephon, why
You from my embraces fly?
Does my love thy love destroy?
Tell me, I will yet be coy.
Stay, oh, stay! and I will feign        5
(Though I break my heart) disdain;
But, lest I too unkind appear,
For every frown I’ll shed a tear.
And if in vain I court thy love,
Let mine at least thy pity move:        10
Ah! while I scorn vouchsafe to woo;
Methinks you may dissemble too.
Ah, Phyllis! that you would contrive
A way to keep my love alive!
But all your other charms must fail,        15
When kindness ceases to prevail.
Alas! no less than you I grieve,
My dying flame has no reprieve;
For I can never hope to find,
Should all the nymphs I court be kind,        20
One beauty able to renew
Those pleasures I enjoy’d in you,
When love and youth did both conspire
To fill our breasts and veins with fire.
’Tis true some other nymph may gain        25
That heart which merits your disdain;
But second love has still allay,
The joys grow aged and decay.
Then blame me not for losing more
Than love and beauty can restore;        30
And let this truth thy comfort prove,
I would, but can no longer love.

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