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 Coquet Mother and Her Daughter
By John Gay (1685–1732)
(A Song, 1720)

AT the close of the day,
When the bean-flower and hay
  Breathed odours in every wind:
Love enliven’d the veins
Of the damsels and swains;        5
  Each glance and each action was kind.
Molly, wanton and free,
Kissed and sat on each knee,
  Fond ecstasy swam in her eyes.
See, thy mother is near,        10
Hark! she calls thee to hear
  What age and experience advise.
Hast thou seen the blithe dove
Stretch her neck to her love,
  All glossy with purple and gold?        15
If a kiss he obtain,
She returns it again:
  What follows you need not be told.
Look ye, mother, she cried,
You instruct me in pride,        20
  And men by good-manners are won.
She who trifles with all
Is less likely to fall
  Than she who but trifles with one.
Prithee, Molly, be wise,
Lest by sudden surprise
  Love should tingle in ev’ry vein:
Take a shepherd for life,
And when once you’re a wife.
  You safely may trifle again.        30
Molly, smiling, replied,
Then I’ll soon be a bride;
  Old Roger had gold in his chest.
But I thought all you wives
Chose a man for your lives,        35
  And trifled no more with the rest.

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