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.
When I Court Thee
(From The Cupid, 1736)

WHEN I court thee, dear Molly, to grant me the bliss,
With a squeeze by the hand, and then with a kiss;
You, like an arch baggage, for ever reply,
In the same loving mood, can you live, Sir, and die?
Then you ask me, how long this same passion will last,        5
And if I shan’t cool when the moment is past?
Such questions as these might e’en damp a beginner,
And must certainly puzzle an old battered sinner.
But to shew you, for once, how much I despise
To tell you, like some men, a thousand damned lies,        10
My mind, dearest girl, in few Words you shall know,
And if, on these Terms, you think well of it, so;
If not, for my part, I shall ne’er take it ill,
For if one woman won’t, there are thousands that will.
  That I like you at present, you never can doubt;        15
For what do I take all this trouble about?
That my passion is real, and void of disguise,
You may feel my pulse; you may read in my eyes:
When these roll so fast, and that beats so quick,
The deuce must be in’t, if it’s all but a trick.        20
  Thy fresh ruddy lips, and thy teeth all so white,
Thy round tempting bubbles, which heave with delight,
Thy trim taper shape, and thy dear little feet,
Thy voice that’s so soft, and thy breath that’s so sweet;
Thy bright beaming eyes, and thy gay golden hair,        25
Provoke a sensation too killing to bear;
Above or below nothing faulty is seen;
And, faith, I dare answer for what lies between.
  So many rare charms surely never can cloy,
But Night, after Night, wou’d afford one new joy;        30
Methinks, in my passion, I never cou’d vary,
If a thousand examples didn’t prove the contrary:
For, like other men, I am but flesh and blood;
Yet, if I’m no better, I hope I’m as good;
Then since, dearest Molly, any one whom you take,        35
Is as likely as me, to prove false and forsake,
If you e’er run the hazard, let me be your man,
And I’ll love you as much, and as long as I can.
We’ll toy, ramp, and revel, we’ll bill, and we’ll coo,
And do everything else, which young lovers do.        40
But if, upon trial, and often repenting,
(For the proof of the pudding’s, you know, in the eating)
Your passion or mine from the bias should run,
As in crowds of each sex it already has done;
Shou’d we grow cool and civil, why e’en let us part,        45
Nor strive to keep up a dull passion by art;
For ’tis folly, ’tis nonsense, our nature to force,
As spurring a jade only makes her the worse:
At formal restraint let us neither repine,
But give back my Heart, and I’ll return thine.        50

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