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.
Ephelia’s Lamentation
By Sir George Etherege (1635?–1691)
(Roxburgh Ballads, vol. iv.)

HOW far are they deceived, who hope in vain
A lasting lease of joys from love t’obtain!
All the dear sweets we promise or expect,
After enjoyment turn to cold neglect.
Could love a constant happiness have known,        5
The mighty wonder had in me been shown;
Our passions are so favoured by fate,
As if she meant them an eternal date.
So kind you look’d, such tender words you spoke,
’Twas past belief such vows should e’er be broke.        10
Fix’d on my eyes, how often did you say
You could with pleasure gaze an age away?
When thoughts too great for words had made you mute,
In kisses you would tell my hand your suit.
So great your passions were, so far above        15
The common gallantries that pass for love,
At worst, I thought, if you unkind should prove,
Your ebbing passion would be kinder far
Than the first transports of all others are.
Nor was my love or fondness less than yours,        20
In you I centred all my hopes of cures;
For you my duty to my friends forgot,
For you I lost—alas! what lost I not?
Fame, all the valuable things of life,
To meet your love by a less name than wife;        25
How happy was I then, how dearly blest,
When you lay panting on my tender breast,
Acting such things as ne’er can be express’d!
Thousand fresh looks you gave me every hour,
Whilst greedily I did those looks devour;        30
Till quite o’ercome with charms I trembling lay,
At every look you gave, melted away.
I was so highly happy in your love,
Methought I pitied them that dwelt above.
Think then, thou greatest, loveliest, falsest man!        35
How you have vow’d, how I have loved, and then,
My faithless dear! be cruel if you can.
How I have loved I cannot, need not tell;
For every act has shown I loved too well.
Since first I saw you I ne’er had a thought        40
Was not entirely yours; to you I brought
My virgin innocence and freely made
My love and offering to your noble bed.
Since when you’ve been the star by which I steer’d,
And nothing else but you I loved or fear’d.        45
Your smiles I only live by; and I must,
Whene’er you frown, be shatter’d into dust.
Oh! can the coldness which you show me now,
Suit with the generous heat you once did show?
I cannot live on pity or respect:        50
A thought so mean would my whole love infect;
Less than your love I scorn, sir, to expect.
Let me not live in dull indifferency,
But give me rage enough to make me die:
For if from you I needs must meet my fate,        55
Before your pity I would choose your hate.

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