THE BRIDE'S FIRST NIGHT
An anonymous poem
- EING entered,
and the bed with all things set,
- Upon the side thereof a while they sit,
- When left alone, they talk and toy and smile,
- She, whilst she can, the time seeks to beguile,
- Till suddenly her cheeks are all bewept,
- To loose so soon what she so long hath kept;
- And oft she castes her eyes upon the place
- Where she is to wrastle; and she hides her face.
- He with such gentle force compels the Lass,
- As would not break her, were she made of glass,
- So loath he is to hurt her; yet he throws
- Her softly down, and to her side he grows.
- Venus begins to teach them a new trade,
- The marriage queen here plays the chamber-maid:
- Juno herself, whose new affections grown,
- And there attends to teach them Mars unknown,
- The whilst he seeks for babies in her eyes,
- Feels her white neck and ivory breasts that rise
- Like two white snowy hills, and still doth praise
- All that he feels or touches; then thus says:
- "O fresh and flourishing Virgin now in bride,
- And are you grown at length so near my side;
- Of all my hopes the storehouse and the treasure,
- My long-expected, now my greatest treasure;
- My sweet and dearest love, this could not be
- Nor happen thus, but by the gods' decree;
- And will (you) now the power of love withstand?"
- At this she turns, and stays his forward hand,
- Trembling to think of that which was to ensue,
- Or prove the thing which yet she never knew;
- Twixt hope and fear she thus replies:
- "O fair and lovely youth, list t' a Virgin's prayer!
- Of the ingrate, by those which gave thee such,
- Thy parents be, I only beg thus much:
- Pity my tears, put me to no affright,
- I only crave reprieve but for this night."
- With (that) she seems intranced, and prostrate lies,
- And since he needs must, lets him act his will:
- Betwixt them too, they quench love's amorous fires,
- She what she fears, he what he long desires.
"The Bride's First Night"
is reprinted from Poetica Erotica. Ed. T.R. Smith. New
York: Crown Publishers, 1921.