by: Thomas Brown
with business of the day,
- Upon her couch supinely lay
- Fair Melisinda void of care,
- No living creature being near:
- When straight a calm and gentle sleep
- Did o'er her drowsy eyelids creep;
- Her senses thus be fetters tied,
- By nimble fancy were supplied:
- Her quick imagination brought
- The ideas of her waking thought.
- She dreamt herself a new made bride
- In bed, by young Philander's side:
- The posset eat, the stocking throw,
- And all the company withdrawn;
- And now the blest Elysium,
- Of all her wished for joys, is come.
- Philander, all dissolved in charms,
- Lies raptured in her circling arms,
- With panting breasts and swimming eyes
- She meets the visionary joys;
- In all the amorous postures love,
- Which the height of ecstasy could move;
- But as she roving did advance
- Her trembling legs, O dire mischance!
- The couch being near the fireside,
- She expanded them, alas! too wide:
- She exposed her nethermost attire
- Unto the embraces of the fire;
- So the chaste Phoenix
of the East
- With fluttering fires her spicy nest.
- The flames at first did trembling seize
- The dangling hem of the lost prize;
- But finding no resistance, higher
- As 'tis their nature to aspire,
- Approaching near the seat of bliss,
- The centre of earthly happiness,
- Which vastly more of pleasure yields,
- Than all the feigned Elysian fields.
- At last the flames were grown so rude,
- They boldly everywhere intrude;
- They soon recalled the lady's sense,
- And chased the pleasing vision thence:
- Soon as her eyes recovered light,
- She straight beheld the dismal sight.
- Then viewing of her half-burnt smock,
- Thus to herself the sad nymph spoke:
- "Is this the effect of dreams? Is this
- The fruit of all my fancy's bliss?
- Misfortunes will, I see, betide,
- When maidens throw their legs too wide:
- Had I but kept my legs across,
- I and my smock had had no loss:
- I ought, I'm sure, to have more heed,
- For ne'er had virgin greater need:
- My kindness and my little care
- Has left me scarce a smock to wear.
- But I could bear the loss of them
- Had not the fire disturbed my dream.
- Ah! cruel flames, you're too unkind
- To chase these fancies from my mind:
- Down, down into your native cell
- In your own blazing regions dwell:
- Vex me no more, let me possess
- My linen, or my dream in peace.
- Thus the poor nymph, bewailed her treacherous luck,
- At once to lose so good a dream and smock.
POEMS BY THOMAS BROWN
is reprinted from Poetica Erotica. Ed. T.R. Smith. New
York: Crown Publishers, 1921.