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 Consolation
By Aristaenetus (fl. 5th or 6th Century A.D.)
(Love Epistles, VI; translated by Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Nathaniel Brassey Halhed)


SAYS a girl to her nurse, “I’ve a tale to unfold,
  Of utmost concern to us both;
But first you must swear not to blab when you’re told.”
  —Nurse greedily swallow’d the oath.
“I’ve lost, my dear mother,” the innocent said,        5
  “What should be a virgin’s chief pride.”—
I wish you had seen what a face the dame made,
  And heard how she blubber’d and cried.
“Hush, for God’s sake,” says Miss, in a whispering tone,
  “The people will hear you within;        10
You have sworn to discover my secret to none,
  Then why such a horrible din?
“My virtue long all opposition withstood,
  And scorn’d at Love’s efforts to flinch;
It retreated at last—but as slow as it could,        15
  Disputing the ground inch by inch.
“In vain to my aid did I reason invoke;
  Young Cupid no reason could quell;
He’d got root in my heart, and there grew like an oak,
  So I fell—but reluctantly fell.        20
“Yet surely young Lysias has charms to betray;
  Too charming, alas, to be true!
But you never heard the soft things he can say—
  Ah! would I had ne’er heard them too:
“For now that the spoiler has robb’d me of all        25
  My innocent heart used to prize,
He cruelly mocks at my tears as they fall—
  The tears he has drawn from my eyes.”
“You’ve play’d a sad game,” cried the matron, aghast;
  “Besides, you disgrace my gray head:        30
But since no reflections can alter what’s past,
  Cheer up—there’s no more to be said.
“Cheer up, child, I say; why there’s no such great crime;
  Sure I too have met with false men:
I’ve known what it was to be trick’d in my time;        35
  But I know too—to trick them again.
“But do so no more; lest, should you be rash,
  Your apron-strings publish your tricks:
Your father, I hope, has a round sum of cash,
  And soon on your husband will fix.        40
“Some innocent swain, (if such innocence be!)
  Unskill’d in the myst’ries of love;
Whose gallantry ne’er went ’yond Phyllis’s knee,
  Or fastening the garter above.
“My humble petition may Jupiter hear,        45
  And grant that you quickly may wed.”—
“So at present, dear mother, I’ve nothing to fear
  No tale-telling urchin to dread?”—
“You’re safe, my dear daughter, I fancy, as yet;
  And when at the altar you’re tied,        50
I’ll teach you a method your husband to cheat,
  For a virgin, as well as a bride.”

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