HERMOCRATES TO EUPHORION
POEMS BY ARISTAENETUS
- AYS a girl
to her nurse, "I've a tale to unfold,
- Of utmost concern to us both;
- But first you must swear not to blab when you're told."
- --Nurse greedily swallow'd the oath.
- "I've lost, my dear mother," the innocent said,
- "What should be a virgin's chief pride!"--
- I wish you had seen what a face the dame made,
- And heard how she blubber'd and cried.
- "Hush, for God's sake," says Miss, in a whispering
- The people will hear you within;
- You have sworn to discover my secret to none,
- Then why such a horrible din?
- "My virtue long all opposition withstood,
- And scorn'd at Love's efforts to flinch;
- It retreated at last--but as slow as it could,
- Disputing the ground inch by inch.
- "In vain to my aid did I reason invoke;
- Young Cupid no reason could quell;
- He'd got root in my heart, and there grew like an oak,
- So I fell--but reluctantly fell.
- "Yet surely young Lysias has charms to betray;
- Too charming, alas, to be true!
- But you never heard the soft things he can say--
- Ah! would I had ne'er heard them too:
- "For now that the spoiler has robb'd me of all
- My innocent heart used to prize,
- He cruelly mocks at my tears as they fall--
- The tears he has drawn from my eyes."
- "You've play'd a sad game," cried the matron, aghast;
- "Besides, you disgrace my grey head:
- But since no reflections can alter what's past,
- Cheer up--there's no more to be said.
- "Cheer up, child, I say; why, there's no such great
- Sure I too have met with false men:
- I've known what it was to be trick'd in my time;
- But I know too--to trick them again.
- "But do so no more; lest, should you be rash,
- Your apron-strings publish your tricks:
- Your father, I hope, has a round sum of cash,
- And soon on your husband will fix.
- "Some innocent swain, (if such innocence be!)
- Unskill'd in the myst'ries of love;
- Whose gallantry ne'er went 'yond Phyllis's knee,
- Or fast'ning the garter above.
- "My humble petition may Jupiter hear,
- And grant that you quickly may wed."--
- "So at present, dear mother, I've nothing to fear
- No tale-telling urchin to dread?"--
- "You're safe, my dear daughter, I fancy, as yet;
- And when at the altar you're tied,
- I'll teach you a method your husband to cheat,
- For a virgin, as well as a bride."
- TRANSLATED BY RICHARD BRINSLEY
SHERIDAN (1751-1816) AND MR. HALHED