by: Thomas Brown

      IRED 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      And all the company withdrawn;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.

"Melisinda's Misfortune" is reprinted from Poetica Erotica. Ed. T.R. Smith. New York: Crown Publishers, 1921.




[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z ]

Home · Poetry Store · Links · Email · © 2003