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 See the Flowers Anew”
(Twelfth Century French Song. Translated by Claude C. Abbott)

“WHEN I see the flowers anew
Peeping where the meadows grew,
And I hear the fountain spring
Murmur on the gravelling,
Then young love holds me in thrall,        5
Which has never healing:
If relief come not at all
I must bide death’s dealing.
“I am dark and fair to see,
Young in my virginity,        10
Rose my colour is and white,
Pretty mouth and green mine eyes;
And my breast it pricks me so
I may not endure it,
For I meddle me to know        15
Love, and naught can cure it.
“Certes, if I met a man
Who stood in the way I ran,
Freely would I love, for none
Should I ever leave that one.        20
Often have I heard relate
And for truth to tell,
No one has a joy parfaite
But comes of loving well.”
Straight toward the wench I went        25
For to be with her acquent;
And I saw her white and fair,
And her look was debonaire,
Nor did she a whit forget
Any word I spake her,        30
Now without delay or let
For her love I prayed her.
Her bare hand I took, the maid
On the thick green grass I laid:
She cried out, to me she swore        35
Of my play she held no store:
“Take away your lechery;
May God truly shame it!
’Tis too rough and harsh for me,
I can never wame it.”        40
“Sweet love, my pretty maid,
Wherefore now are you afraid?
For you do not know a mite
How this is a merry life.
Mother did not for it die,        45
That you know right truly,
Nor will you the daughter, why
Do you fear unduly?”
When I had swived her maidenhood,
And upon her feet she stood,        50
All aloud to me she cried
“Well am I escaped your side:
Thirteen years since, I was born
As I rightly know;
Never had I other morn        55
That I loved so.”

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