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.




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