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.
“My Mistress Is in Music Passing Skillful”
(A Song from Merry Drollery, 1691)

MY Mistress is in Music passing skillful,
And Plays and sings her part at the first sight,
But in her play she is exceeding willful,
And will not play but for her own delight,
Nor touch one string, nor play one pleasing strain,        5
Unless you take her in a pleasing vein.
Also she hath a sweet delicious touch
Upon the Instrument whereon she plays,
And thinks that she doth never do too much,
Her pleasures are dispers’d so many ways;        10
She hath such Judgement both in time and mood,
That for to play with her ’twill do you good.
And then you win her heart: but here’s the spite,
You cannot get her for to play alone,
But play with her, and she will play all night,        15
And next day too, or else ’tis ten to one,
And run division with you in such sort,
Run ne’er so swift she’ll make you come too short.
Still so she sent for me one day to play,
Which I did take for such exceeding grace,        20
But she so tired me ere I went away:
I wished I had been in another place:
She knew the play much better than I did,
And still she kept me time for heart and blood.
I love my mistress, and I love to play,        25
So she will let me play with intermission:
But when she ties me to it all the day,
I hate and loath her greedy disposition;
Let her keep time, as nature doth require,
And I will play as much as she’ll desire.        30

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