POEMS BY ARISTAENETUS
- HE god of
the love-darting bow,
- Whose bliss is man's heart to destroy,
- Oft contrives to embitter our woe
- By a specious resemblance of joy.--
- Long--long had Architeles sigh'd
- The fair Telesippe to gain:
- She coolly his passion denied,
- Yet seem'd somewhat moved at his pain.
- At length she consented to hear;
- But 'twas done with a view to beguile:
- For her terms were most harsh and severe,
- And a frown was as good as her smile.
- "You may freely," says she, "touch my breast,
- And kiss, while a kiss has its charms;
- And (provided I am not undrest)
- Encircle me round in your arms.
- "In short, my favour you please,
- But expect not, nor think of the last:
- Lest enraged I revoke my decrees,
- And your sentence of exile be cast."--
- "Be it so," cried the youth, with delight,
- "Thy pleasure, my fair one, is mine:
- Since I'm blest as a prince at your sight,
- Sure to touch thee, will make me divine.
- "But why keep one favour alone,
- And grant such a number beside?"--
- "Because the men value the boon
- But only so long as denied.
- "They seek it with labour and pain;
- When gain'd, throw it quickly away!
- For youth is unsettled and vain,
- And its choice scarce persists for a day."
- --Thus pines the poor victim away,
- Forced to nibble and starve on a kiss;
- Served worse than e'en eunuchs--for they
- Can never feel torture like this.
- TRANSLATED BY RICHARD BRINSLEY
SHERIDAN (1751-1816) AND MR. HALHED