ON A GIRDLE.
That which her slender waist confined,
Shall now my joyful temples bind;
No monarch but would give his crown,
His arms might do what this has done.
It was my heaven’s extremest sphere,
The pale which held that lovely deer.
My joy, my grief, my hope, my love,
Did all within this circle move!
A narrow compass! and yet there
Dwelt all that’s good, and all that’s fair;
Give me but what this ribband bound,
Take all the rest the sun goes round.
See! how the willing earth gave way,
To take th’impression where she lay.
See! how the mould, as both to leave
So sweet a burden, still doth cleave
Close to the nymph’s stain’d garment. Here
The coming spring would first appear,
And all this place with roses strow,
If busy feet would let them grow.
Here Venus smiled to see blind chance
Itself before her son advance, 10
And a fair image to present,
Of what the boy so long had meant.
’Twas such a chance as this, made all
The world into this order fall;
Thus the first lovers, on the clay,
Of which they were composed, lay;
So in their prime, with equal grace,
Met the first patterns of our race.
Then blush not, fair! or on him frown,
Or wonder how you both came down; 20
But touch him, and he’ll tremble straight,
How could he then support your weight?
How could the youth, alas! but bend,
When his whole heaven upon him lean’d?
If aught by him amiss were done,
’Twas that he let you rise so soon.
1 Our sighs are heard; just Heaven declares
The sense it has of lovers’ cares;
She that so far the rest outshined,
Sylvia the fair, while she was kind,
As if her frowns impair’d her brow,
Seems only not unhandsome now.
So, when the sky makes us endure
A storm, itself becomes obscure.
2 Hence ’tis that I conceal my flame,
Hiding from Flavia’s self her name,
Lest she, provoking Heaven, should prove
How it rewards neglected love.
Better a thousand such as I,
Their grief untold, should pine and die;
Than her bright morning, overcast
With sullen clouds, should be defaced.
1 Lately on yonder swelling bush,
Big with many a coming rose,
This early bud began to blush,
And did but half itself disclose;
I pluck’d it, though no better grown,
And now you see how full ’tis blown.
2 Still as I did the leaves inspire,
With such a purple light they shone,
As if they had been made of fire,
And spreading so, would flame anon.
All that was meant by air or sun,
To the young flower, my breath has done.