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.
An Answer to the Curious Maid
By Matthew Prior (1664–1721)

 To Cloe’s Lap all Men must yield;
Against this Part there is no shield.
—Late Miscel.    

  THY Muse, O Bard! that Wonders tell,
Fair Cloe’s Charms Below Reveals;
The Blissful Seat all Men Adore,
When felt; when seen, that strikes no more:
Tho’ thus thy Muse Displays the Place,        5
Full oft Review’d in Shining Glass;
Yet still Neglects thy vent’rous Lyre,
The Greatest Joys which Youths inspire.
  As Laborers in the Oozy Mine,
Must deep Descend, (as Lakes of Brine)        10
In Caverns dark, thro’ Veins below,
Thro’ Mazes, Turnings, Windings go,
Earth’s Treasures far beneath unbind,
The Gold and Silver Oar to find;
So must each Swain his Courage prove,        15
Within, to seek the Joys of Love.
  When Ships at Sea, in Storms are tost,
By furious Gales in Tempest lost;
When foaming Waves disturb the Main;
Below the Waters move Serene;        20
Thus Ruff to view tho’ Cloe’s Pride,
Within the greatest Charms reside.
  ’Tis no One Toy that wins the Swain,
That gives to Youthful Damon Pain;
The Eyes like Stars, and shining Hair,        25
The globous Breasts our Youths Ensnare;
Fine Ivory Limbs concealed, Surprize;
The Vale, and Mount, and Snowy Thighs,
Of Beauteous Cloe ne’er employed
In Love, nor Ever Once Enjoyed;        30
He’s more than Man that These can view,
And not the Game of Love pursue.
  When panting Breast to Breast is joined,
We Feast on Raptures unconfined,
Vast and Luxuriant, such as prove,        35
The Immortality of Love.
  Love’s Palace fills each Breast with Fire,
This Damon moves with strong Desire:
As Lilies fair the Banks adorn,
And Violets in the Bosom worn;        40
As near some purling Streams are seen,
The spreading Boughs of Willow Green;
As Trees that grace the verdant Plain,
And Hills compleat the Rural Scene;
As Noble Mansions furnished round,        45
With Hangings fair and Fringe abound;
So Cloe gay has pow’rful Charms,
To set off what the Lover warms.
  No single Joy the Swain excites,
’Tis All the Female that invites;        50
Her Sense, her Wit, her Beauties all,
By which the Youthful Lovers fall.
  As Warriors in the Martial Field,
Make Stubborn Foes to Conduct yield,
By various Arts and Toils prevail,        55
When Cannons loud and Mortars fail;
Thus when their Charms Below are vain,
By others Females Conquest gain.

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