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.
A Remedy for the Green Sickness
Bagford Ballads
(Anonymous. 1682; from Pt. III)

A HANDSOME buxom lass lay panting on her bed,
She looked as green as grass, and mournfully she said:
Except I have some lusty lad to ease me of my pain,
  I cannot live, I sigh and grieve,
  My life I now disdain.        5
But if some bonny lad would be so kind to me,
Before I am quite mad, to end my misery,
And cool these burning flames of fire
Which rage in this my breast,
  Then I should be from torments free and be forever blest.        10
I am both young and fair, yet ’tis my fortune hard,
I’m ready to despair, my pleasures are debarred:
And I, poor soul, cannot enjoy nor taste of lover’s bliss,
  Whilst others meet, those joys so sweet,
Oh! what a life is this.        15
Were but my passion known, sure some would pity me,
That lie so long alone, for want of company.
Had I some young man in my arms
That would be brisk and brave,
  My pains would end,        20
  He’d prove my friend,
And keep me from my grave.
From this tormenting pain I cannot long endure,
My hopes are all in vain if I expect a cure,
Without some thund’ring lad comes in        25
And with a courage bold,
  Grant me delight,
  I’d him requite,
With silver and with gold.
A gallant lively lad that in the next room lay,
It made his heart full glad to hear what she did say.
Into the room immediately this youngster he did rush,
  Some words he spoke,
  Love to provoke,
But she straight cried out, Hush!        35
My father he will hear and then we’re both undone,
Quoth he, love do not fear, I’ll venture for a son.
The coverlet he then threw off and jumped into the bed,
  And in a trice,
  He kissed her twice,        40
Then to his chamber fled.
And blushing all alone this damsel sweating lay,
Her troubles they were gone, thus softly did she say:
  Had I but known that lover’s bliss
  Had been so sweet a taste,        45
    I’d ne’er have stayed,
    Nor begged nor prayed,
That so much time did waste.
This lusty youthful boy, that banished all my pain,
I must his love enjoy ere it be long again.        50
  For gold and silver I’ll not spare
  Can that his courage prove,
He has an art, without all smart,
  Green sickness to remove.
A sigh she gave and said, Oh! come again to me,        55
For I am half afraid I shall not cured be
  At this first bout, then prithee try
  To help me once again;
Count me not bold, I’ll give thee gold
  Enough for all thy pain.        60

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