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 Dress-maker
By Jean de La Fontaine (1621–1695)
(From Tales and Novels, 1764)

A CLOISTERED nun had a lover
Dwelling in the neighb’ring town;
Both racked their brains to discover
How they best their love might crown.
The swain to pass the convent-door!—        5
No easy matter!—Thus they swore,
And wished it light.—I ne’er knew nun
In such a pass to be outdone:—
In woman’s clothes the youth must dress,
And gain admission, I confess        10
The ruse has oft been tried before,
But it succeeded as of yore.
Together in a close barred cell
The lovers were, and sewed all day,
Nor heeded how time flew away.—        15
“What’s that I hear? Refection bell!
’Tis time to part. Adieu!—Farewell!—
How’s this?” exclaimed the abbess, “why
The last at table?”—“Madam, I
Have had my dress-maker.”—“The rent        20
On which you’ve both been so intent
Is hard to stop, for the whole day
To sew and mend, you made her stay;
Much work indeed you’ve had to do!
—Madam, ’t would last the whole night through.        25
When in our task we find enjoyment
There is no end of the employment.”

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