Come now, sweet Phyllis, of my loves the last, and
hence the best
(For nevermore shall other girls inflame this manly breast);
Learn loving measures to rehearse as we may stroll along,
And dismal cares shall fly away and vanish at your song.
Why do you shun me, Chloe, like the fawn,
That, fearful of the breezes and the wood,
Has sought her timorous mother since the dawn,
And on the pathless mountain tops has stood?
Her trembling heart a thousand fears invites,
Her sinking knees with nameless terrors shake,—
Whether the rustling leaf of spring affrights,
Or the green lizards stir the slumbering brake.
I do not follow with a tigerish thought,
Or with the fierce Gaetulian lion’s quest;
So, quickly leave your mother, as you ought,
Full ripe to nestle on a husband’s breast.
Chloe, you shun me like a hind
That, seeking vainly for her mother,
Hears danger in each breath of wind,
And wildly darts this way and t’ other;
Whether the breezes sway the wood
Or lizards scuttle through the brambles,
She starts, and off, as though pursued,
The foolish, frightened creature scrambles.
But, Chloe, you’re no infant thing
That should esteem a man an ogre;
Let go your mother’s apron-string,
And pin your faith upon a toga!
How happens it, my cruel miss,
You’re always giving me the mitten?
You seem to have forgotten this:
That you no longer are a kitten!
A woman that has reached the years
Of that which people call discretion
Should put aside all childish fears
And see in courtship no transgression.
A mother’s solace may be sweet,
But Hymen’s tenderness is sweeter;
And though all virile love be meet,
You’ll find the poet’s love is metre.
A PARAPHRASE, CIRCA 1715
Since Chloe is so monstrous fair,
With such an eye and such an air,
What wonder that the world complains
When she each am’rous suit disdains?
Close to her mother’s side she clings,
And mocks the death her folly brings
To gentle swains that feel the smarts
Her eyes inflict upon their hearts.
Whilst thus the years of youth go by,
Shall Colin languish, Strephon die?
Nay, cruel nymph! come, choose a mate,
And choose him ere it be too late!
A PARAPHRASE, BY DR. I.W.
Why, Mistress Chloe, do you bother
With prattlings and with vain ado
Your worthy and industrious mother,
Eschewing them that come to woo?