by: Hildebrand Jacobs

      EAUTY'S gaudy sign, no more,
      To tempt the gazer to the door;
      Without the entertainment lies,
      Far off remov'd from vulgar eyes.
      Thus Chloe, beautiful and gay,
      As on her bed the Wanton lay,
      Hardly awake from dreaming o'er
      Her conquests of the day before.
      And what's this hidden charm? (she cry'd)
      And spurned th' embracing cloaths aside,
      From limbs of such a shape and hue,
      As Titian's pencil never drew;
      Resol'd the Dark Abode to trace,
      Of female honour or disgrace;
      Where Virtue finds her talk too hard,
      And often slumbers on the guard.
      Th' attempt she makes, and buckles to
      With all her might; but 'twou'd not do;
      Still, as she bent, the Part requir'd,
      As conscious of its shame, retir'd.
      What's to be done? We're all-aground!
      Some other method must be found--
      Water Narcissus' Face cou'd show,
      And why not Chloe's charms below?
      Big with this project she applies
      The Jordan to her virgin thighs;
      But the dull Lake her wish denies.
      What luck is here? We're foil'd again!
      The Devil's in the Dice, that's plain!
      No Chymist e'er was so perplexed;
      No jilted Coxcomb half so vex'd;
      No Bard, whose gentle muse excells
      At Tunbridge, Bath, or Epsom-Wells,
      Ordain'd by Phoebus' special grace,
      To sing the beauties of the place,
      E'er pump'd, and chaf'd to that degree,
      To tag his fav'rite simile.
      Thus folks are often at a stand,
      When remedies are near at hand.
      For lo! the Glass--ay, That indeed!
      'Tis Ten to One we now succeed!
      To this relief she flies amain,
      And straddles o'er the shining Plain,
      The shining Plain reflects at large
      All Damon's wish and Chloe's charge.
      The Curious Maid, in deep surprise,
      On the Grim Feature, fix'd her eyes:
      (Far less amaz'd Æneas stood,
      When by Avernus' sacred flood,
      He saw Hell's Portal fringed with Wood.)
      And is this all? Is this (she cry'd)
      Man's great Desire, and Woman's Pride:
      The Spring whence flows the Lover's Pain,
      The Ocean where 'tis lost again,
      By Fate for ever doom'd to prove
      The Nursery and Grove of Love?
      O thou of dire and horrid mien,
      Far always better felt than seen!
      Fit rapture for the gloomy Night,
      O, never more approach the Light!
      Like other Myst'ries men adore,
      Be hid to be rever'd the more.

"The Curious Maid" is reprinted from Poetica Erotica. Ed. T.R. Smith. New York: Crown Publishers, 1921.




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