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.
Advice to Bachelors
(From Merry Drollery, 1691)

IF thou wilt know how to choose a shrew,
  Come listen unto me,
I’ll tell you the signs, and the very very lines
  Of Love’s Physiognomy.
If her hair be brown, with a flaxen crown,        5
  And graced with a nutmeg hue,
Both day and night, she’s best for delight,
  And her colour everlasting true.
If her forehead be high, with a rolling eye,
  And lips that will sweetly melt:        10
The thing below is better you know,
  Although it be oft’ner felt.
If her hair be red, she’ll sport in the bed,
  But take heed of the danger though:
For if she carry fire in her upper attire,        15
  What a devil doth she carry below?
If her hair be yellow, she’ll tempt each fellow;
  In the Immanuel College:
For she that doth follow the colour of Apollo,
  May be like him in zeal and knowledge.        20
If she be pale, and a Virgin stale,
  Inclin’d to the sickness green:
Some raw fruit give her, to open her liver,
  Her stomach, and the thing between.
If her Nose be long, and sharp as her Tongue,        25
  Take heed of a desperate maid:
For she that will swagger with an incurable dagger
  With stab and a kissing betrayed.
If her face and her neck have here and there a speck,
  Ne’er stick, but straight you go stride her:        30
For it hath been try’d and never denied,
  Such flesh ne’er fails the Rider.
If none of these thy fancy will please,
  Go seek thy complexion store,
And take for thy saint a Lady that will paint,        35
  Such beauties thou maist adore.
If beauty do write in her face red and white,
  And Cupid his flowers there breed,
It Pleaseth the eye, but the rose will die,
  As soon as it runs to seed.        40

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